Think Twice Before Posting Fake Reviews
Is your business posting fake reviews? New technology can identify fake reviews and tracking down the culprits is becoming lucrative for “hunter” startup firms like FakeSpot and The Transparency Co. Last month, Transparency ran a crawler search to identify fake reviews from a sample of 300 California businesses and found 33 companies posting fake reviews. Some firms removed the reviews when asked but remarkably, they re-posted them.
Fake reviews (aka false advertising) have skyrocketed. It’s no wonder some companies post fake reviews to lure new consumers, because according to BrightLocal, 91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business.
Fake reviews pose additional problems in that they often compel consumers to spend money with a business or on a product they may not have otherwise chosen. This means other businesses are losing out on potential revenue.
However, the tide may be changing and there are plenty of reasons you should remove fake reviews — positive or negative — to protect your business, especially given how prolific they are becoming. One of the biggest reasons is the FTC’s new crackdown on companies who post fake reviews that may include a penalty of $43,792 per violation. In March, Landmark Home Warranty was cited for “posting fake reviews” and agreed to a $1.7 million settlement.
“People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”
With new technology to detect fake reviews, combined with significant fines for posting them, now is the time to ask your website manger to review your site and make any corrections.