People can get reviews for hotels, restaurants, lawyers, etc. The more reviews become apparent, the more that potential customers use and rely on them. Talk is cheap, and it's a helpful marketing tool for businesses. However, some of that talk might actually be coming from the business itself.
Operation Clean Turf
A year-long investigation ceased 19 fake review writing companies. They posted on review sites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch. The companies were also fined $350,000.
The companies created fake online profiles on the review websites, and the companies violated many state laws along with engaging in illegal & deceptive business practices.
Business Owners Looking For Fake Reviews
During the investigation, it was also noted how business owners would post on classifieds such as Craigslist looking to pay others to write fake reviews. Especially 'experts' to pass filters. Most review sites now have filters to detect which are real and which are not. Yelp has the strongest filter by far.
One of the 19 companies that was charged, an SEO company, also made a few posts on classifieds as well. They were looking for potential job seekers, of course!
Well, it's a marketing company, so the job should totally be free from any legalities!
Reviews can be critical for a company's reputation. The more people rely on reviews for information, then the more companies rely on getting them.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Companies will either post fake glowing reviews themselves or hire a company to write them. The funny thing with hiring a fake review writing company is that businesses think they won't be held liable when they're caught simply because they didn't know how the hired company does the deed.
Hmm... That's like me hiring a hit man; however, since I did not ask how they were going to conduct the fatality, I won't be held responsible! :D
You Learn Something New Everyday
Of course we all know murder is illegal, but what these companies don't know is that fake reviews are illegal. So, when they pay for these type of services, they are participating in fraudulent activities relating to false advertising -- on their behalf.
Fake Negative Reviews
There are occupations in the cyber world dedicated for those to seek out fake online reviews. Especially the negative ones.
I know you and I have seen fake harsh reviews for businesses on Yelp and such. Most of the time if they're really being malicious, I'm just sitting there like, 'Sounds like a personal, bro.'
The funny thing about negative reviews is that majority of the time they know who wrote it. It can be a pissed off former employee, jealous competitor, enemies of the owner or employees, etc.
Users can report a fake review along with why they think it's fake. If it's still up, that's when legal teams invade & conquer.
The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back
I used to be a party hostess for tourists, and our boss was literally on our ass about reviews, reviews, reviews. We busted our ass trying to convince drunk, unconsciously aware, hyper tourists to please review (remember) us on a popular review site before dumping them on Bourbon Street. Then, the following day, my co-workers and I would send a follow-up email as well to please review us!
Our efforts failed, and boss was still sending his nasty emails about lack of reviews. So, you know what? My co-workers and I just wrote fake reviews ourselves. We even got friends & family to help. Fuck it.
But oh no, the review site got all suspicious. Now, boss was on our ass about fraudulent reviews. I was done. I was so done!
I remember I was at a funeral, and I excused myself to go to the bathroom to relieve myself from the throes of this purgatory. I created a new email with the subject The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back (I blind carbon copied my co-workers btw) and I told boss deuces. My co-workers texted me with their laughing hard emojis and in all caps about the hilarity of my departure. Boss never responded; however, I still talk to my former co-workers to this day.
2 False Positives
I had two fake reviews on The Erotic Review. I reported them, but nothing happened, of course! Just because they were positive, didn't mean I was going to leave them up. Like bro, if I didn't meet you, I didn't meet you! I read somewhere that TER, along with many agencies, do in fact write reviews themselves. Not surprising. At all.
Anyways, the whole review system in general, with all businesses, is subjective. They can be used as a general idea of certain expectations for a service or product. There's also two sides to a story, especially with service reviews. Checking reviews on other websites helps too. Consumers could also look more at the company themselves. Look at how the business responds to negative feedback, or do they even respond at all? Do they engage with their fans on their social media? Also, on social media, do they bring awareness to any social or current issues via philanthropy? There's more ways, but ultimately, it's all on your perception and your choice.
A Tool to Decipher Reviews