Nothing beats word of mouth for getting people to put their hand in their pockets. So it didn't take long for cheeky marketing departments to cotton on to the power of blogs and pose as consumers praising their own particular widget to the skies to help lift their top line.
Sneaky, perhaps, but usually legal. Not for much longer, however, as covert commercial blogging - or flogging - will soon be banned by Brussels.
Under laws due to come into force at the beginning of next year, but likely to be delayed until April for the UK, companies posing as consumers on fake blogs, providing fake testimonies on consumer rating websites such as TripAdvisor, or writing fake book reviews on Amazon risk criminal or civil liability.