The Champions were outed by their creators, the Customer Insight Group, which boasted on their company blog that the potent group is "regularly leveraged for ongoing marketing initiates. Members of the popular reviewing site Cruise Critic, one of the main targets of the program, are understandably pissed.

The program's existence by itself isn't objectionable. Every industry is a carrier for public relations parasites, but most so-called public relations professionals adhere to a code of conduct that includes a clear disclosure of their affiliation. As the Customer Insight Group acknowledges, "the key to success in viral marketing is to subtly influence the influencers without them overtly realizing they are being influenced."

Get the full story at The Consumerist