Internet Mercenary Operation

Internet Mercenary Operation

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4578-3.ch004
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Abstract

Internet mercenary operation is a well-integrated part of the Internet public relations (IPR) business. IPR in the Chinese context is defined as a series of strategic communication activities that use the Internet and other new media technologies to promote awareness and ensure a positive image of a brand, product, service or any other entity which is concerned with its public image. Specifically, this chapter details the whole procedure of Internet mercenary operation including release design, target platforms, target audience, release volume and release duration. This chapter also documents in some detail the practice of release operation, including a pyramid of “pushing hands,” and the procedures of maintenance and monitoring.
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Introduction

Internet mercenary operation is a well integrated part of the IPR business. IPR in the Chinese context is defined as a series of strategic communication activities that use the Internet and other new media technologies to promote awareness and ensure a positive image of a brand, product, service or any other entity which is concerned with its public image. Specifically, this chapter details the whole procedure of Internet mercenary operation including release design, target platforms (i.e. news and information websites, Internet forums and SNSs, Blogs, encyclopedia websites, video sites, QQ, MSN and other IM applications), target audience, release volume and release duration. This chapter also documents in some detail the practice of release operation, including a pyramid of “pushing hands.” The maintenance and monitoring section includes tasks and assessment. IPR in China is engaged mainly in the following forms of activities:

  • 1.

    Online Publication of Official Information: It includes release information on behalf of a company or organization in its official website, and social media accounts such as blog or Weibo accounts.

  • 2.

    Online Campaign and Promotion for an Offline Event: It includes making a website dedicated to an offline PR event. This is often used by PR companies specialized in conventions and exhibitions. The website is a necessary part to promote information, enhance participation and demonstrate achievement of the event.

  • 3.

    Online Advertising of Commercial Information: It includes all kinds of Internet-based advertising activities in order to maximize the reach to potential customers. There are two forms of advertising: a clear advertisement in which the nature of advertising is evidently exhibited such as banner ads, text link ads, e-mail advertisements, pop-up ads, sponsor ads, rich media ads, Google AdSense,1 QR ads2 and etc... The other type is embedded ads in which the nature of advertising is hidden.

  • 4.

    The Monitoring and Maintenance of Online Reputation of a Brand, Product, Event, or Other Activities: It includes monitoring the information exchange on the Internet and SNS in relation to a brand, product or event at any time, and managing negative information, and especially public relations in online crisis.

Not all IPR operations involve Internet mercenaries, but they play a unique role in elevating IPR into a full-fledged industry with distinguished characteristics in its operational model. This is summarized in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Chart of IPR procedure

This chapter details the two procedures in Figure 1: Promotion, and Maintenance & Monitoring. The process of creative design will be covered in the next chapter. Within the promotion process, there are two major steps: the release design which concerns the strategies to launch promotional information, and the release operation which tackles the implementation of information dissemination.

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