How TBI Bought Positive Comment from Its Customers

When this blog started in 2012, TBI was caught completely by surprise. After years of covering up abuses at TBI Bekasi, not to mention the embezzlement of over Rp2 billion at TBI Dago when Luke Preece was manager there, the TBI authorities had a lot of practice at keeping the lid on their dirty secrets. They acted with absolute impunity, confident that if anyone ever did speak out against them, TBI knew how to silence people through the dark arts of intimidation and character assassination. “If you don’t stay quiet, you will never work in Indonesia again,” had worked well in silencing critics and whistle-blowers in the past. If the person didn’t shut their mouth on cue, then Luke would rally his reliable cronies who would swear blind that the person making the accusations was a crackpot/ lunatic/ psychotic/degenerate who was absolutely not to be believed. They had the formula down pat. But then we started this blog, and things went badly off script for TBI. They tried their threats and intimidation, but this time it didn’t work; suddenly, highly compromising stories about TBI were plastered all over the Internet, and the authors refused to be terrified into taking them down. The situation demanded a new solution, and that was where TBI’s Blogfam Competition came in.

TBI’s Blogfam Competition Cover-Up

TBI hatched a new plan to keep their nefarious deeds off the radar (as much as possible anyway). The new plan involved their Blogfam Competition. They would give away a lot of Smartphones and free courses at TBI to the students who would start a blog about how great TBI. Their aim was clearly to get dozens and dozens of blogs about TBI started. Hopefully, our blog telling the truth about their lying ways would get lost in a sea of gushing praise for TBI- all of it motivated by the hope of winning a free Blackberry. New as the concept was, however, it reminded us a lot of the artificiality and manipulation that we were writing about on this blog. This pro-TBI commentary was anything but spontaneous and authentic; it was all cynically motivated by the hope of winning a Blackberry. In reality, TBI had masterminded a pay-for-positive-comment scam which was aimed at nothing but burying the truth. The ludicrous theme of this cynical competition was “TBI: Inspiring and Empowering”. Below is the poster for the Blogfam Cover-Up Competition from 2012:

The poster offering rizes for praise for TBI

The poster offering prizes for praise for TBI

The Cover-Up Competition Fails

While the competition attracted plenty of entrants hungry for a new Blackberry, the ploy eventually failed. Some of the blogs still exist, but you have to search to the 10th page of Google and beyond to find them. They never attracted enough views to make it onto the front page of Google if you search “TBI Fatmwati”, “TBI Sudirman” or whatever. To put it bluntly, they were a bore. Featuring loads of grammar mistakes, a clunky style and completely artificial praise of TBI courses, they read like 3rd-rate, error-ridden ads from the worst advertising agency you ever heard of. No wonder no one but the authors’ own family members ever looked at them. In contrast, this blog has notched up over 150,000 views over the following 2 and a half years, and it is highly visible on all major search engines. Turns out the truth is more interesting than a lot of cheaply-bought guff from customers hoping for a free Smartphone.

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