Definition of astroturfing in English:



  • [mass noun] The deceptive practice of presenting an orchestrated marketing or public relations campaign in the guise of unsolicited comments from members of the public.

    • ‘And let's not even begin to discuss astroturfing.’
    • ‘What he is talking about is not really astroturfing, but rather the granting of some individuals a big megaphone.’
    • ‘An aide said Mr. Markey hoped to combat the tactic of astroturfing in which a professional lobbying effort is made to seem like a grass-roots movement.’
    • ‘Advertising and PR strategists regard astroturfing as the next frontier.’
    • ‘But the significant element of astroturfing in many of these instances of democratisation is widely ignored.’
    • ‘So astroturfing is an easy way out, but it will be exposed.’
    • ‘An EU directive enacted in Britain last year made astroturfing illegal, and there have been similar moves in the US.’
    • ‘Little wonder the phenomenon called astroturfing has spread in politics, advertising and PR.’
    • ‘But the Dispatches programme, The Dirty Tricks Election, is the first to show in detail how astroturfing works - and how sophisticated it has become.’
    • ‘This type of corporate 'astroturfing' is nothing new to either organization.’
    • ‘At its worst, it is a form of astroturfing, the pernicious practice of trying to trick people into thinking that has widespread support from ordinary members of the public.’
    • ‘Still, some argue that the angry reaction from editors over astroturfing is blowing the situation out of proportion.’
    • ‘It's "artificial grass roots" letter writing - astroturfing.’
    • ‘Problem was, his supporters sent it to multiple newspapers without changing the text whatsoever, leading the campaign to have to apologize for astroturfing.’
    • ‘It's the professionalization of astroturfing.’
    • ‘Belief in ordinary voices is exploited by PRs and politicians skilled in the dark art of astroturfing.’
    • ‘These can be counteracted through astroturfing and other kinds of guerilla marketing, and human corruptibility, error, and laziness, respectively.’
    • ‘Astroturfing is risky business.’
    • ‘Shameless astroturfing.’
    • ‘There's a lot of controversy surrounding the so-called astroturfing.’


1990s: from AstroTurf, the idea being that such a campaign is an artificial version of a grass-roots campaign (see grass roots).