Main | Monday, September 23, 2013

New York Cracks Down On Fake Reviews

The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has fined 19 companies for posting fake reviews of themselves on sites like Yelp and Yahoo. The fines range as high as $75,000 and behind these fake reviews is quite an industry.
Investigators working for Mr. Schneiderman began by posing as the owner of a Brooklyn yogurt shop that was the victim of unfair reviews. Could the reputation management firm gin up some good reviews to drown out the naysayers? All too often the answer was yes. The investigation revealed a web of deceit in which reviewers in Bangladesh, the Philippines and Eastern Europe produced, for as little as a dollar a rave, buckets of praise for places they had never seen in countries where they had never been. In some cases, the reputation shops bribed their clients’ customers to write more fake reviews, giving them $50 gift certificates for their trouble. They also went on review sites that criticized their own fake-review operations and wrote fake reviews denying they wrote fake reviews.
Yelp appears to be the most aggressive in swatting down fake reviews.

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