A large majority of today's "higher end" camera consumers search the web for info before buying a Camera.
The reliability of camera-shop employees has dramaticely gone down. Customer are sceptic about the ways different camera-shops deal with the different brands. Questions like why a certain shop has a bigger in-store display for Canon then Nikon, or why for example Olympus is not as available in the shop like the major brands. All this ends up in a scepticism, and gives way for other sources of "reliable information".
The "new" digital camera age has pushed the market into a turn-over focused business where profit-margins is AO, where brand/distribution alliances and in-store distribution is a dominant way of survival.
This is off course not explicit for the camera industry, and has "awaken" the customer to face sellers with more scepticism.
"Independent" web and magazine reviews and forums has taken over the roll of distribution the "truth". The fact that there's no brand och corporate involvement in these sources insures and gives the customers of valid information and authenticity.
Therefore I understand why stealth marketing in forums like this hit the heart, and proves to be very effective when it comes to turning doubting customers into buying customers.
The examples above are not fictive, and illustrates how the "new customers" orientates in the market.