Brian Clark drops a real humdinger of a question.
Is it to start your marketing campaign yourself? If you want people to join your Facebook group, is it ok to get your friends to join first – you know – make it look popular?
If you want people to participate in a UGC campaign, do you and your friends create the content at the beginning?
If you want your article to rise up the DIGG charts, do you persuade all your friends to DIGG it?
If you want your blog to appear popular, do you write a few anonymous comments to get the conversation going?
How far can this go? If you want to have a bestseller, is it ok to buy enough copies to make the bestseller list in the first place?
I know a lot of people that would advocate all these. They will do anything so long as they succeed for their client. It might work once, it might work twice, it might even work every time you do it.
However, in the long run, surely the time is better spent understanding why your target audience wont participate in the first place?