Fake Reviews–The Noose Tightens!

Don’t Fake Your Reviews–New Developments

Readers of this Newsletter know that I’ve warned about the dangers of writing fake reviews for your own business.  I’ve told you that the review companies, who depend on the accuracy of their reviews for the success of their own businesses, are expending a lot of effort to find fake reviews, and they are exacting serious penalties when they find fakes–penalties that can damage or even destroy a business.

Now things have become even more serious.  As reported in the New York Times, New York regulators are now cracking down on deceptive Internet reviews.  Nineteen companies have entered into agreements to cease their misleading practices and pay a total of $350,000 in penalties.

The Investigation

Investigators working for the New York Attorney General posed as the owner of a yogurt shop in Brooklyn who wanted to acquire some good reviews.  They asked reputation management firms to cook up some favorable reviews.  Sadly, the reputation managers produced the fake reviews, sometimes offshoring the review writing to the usual places. 

It’s interesting that these firms also found review sites that had criticized their own fake review operations, and had their people write fake reviews stating that the companies didn’t write fake reviews!
One bus company, US Coachway, was receiving a lot of poor reviews.  The CEO, believing that the poor reviews were hurting revenues, hired writers and required his employees to write favorable reviews, even posting a five-star review himself on Yelp.  The company agreed to pay $75,000 in fines and stop writing fake reviews.

How to Get Good Reviews

The best way to get good reviews is to provide great products and service!  Then your customers will be motivated to give you great reviews.  You can just ask them, and you’ll get good reviews.
My clients have access to proprietary technology to automatically obtain large numbers of genuine, favorable reviews.

The Bottom Line

Treat your customers right, and ask them for reviews.  Don’t fake reviews and don’t hire others to fake reviews, and don’t incent your customers to write reviews.
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