Internet Spawns Another New Industry: Fake Five-Star Reviews Of Businesses

Sunday, August 21, 2011 15:07
Internet Spawns Another New Industry: Fake Five-Star Reviews Of Businesses

Tags: client satisfaction | Search Engines

With reviews of everything from advisors to xylophones, the Web is filled with five-star ratings. That's spawned an industry of fake reviews. For the record, advisors would be wise to stay away from such tactics.


The New York Times notes that fake reviews are rampant, with some Web workers offering to give you fake reviews for $5 apiece.


Hiring a college student to post fake five-star ratings of your advisory firm on Google Places may seem like a no-brainer. 


However, the story also says that algorithms are being devised to detect fake reviews.  Google, Amazon and other will impose a way to ensure the fakers are ferreted out.


With the credibility of crowdsourcing at stake, the Web giants cannot afford to allow unethical reviewers to get away with ruining their reputations.


While fake reviews may seem like a shrewd move now, it could get you banned from Google Places and kill your search engine ranking when a solution is discovered.


Moreover, it's just plain unethical.



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Comments (2)

How would this be a shrewd move? Faking your rating would seem to violate any number of SEC/FINRA regs. Even asking for "testimonials" and then posting them is a violation. Getting caught posting fakes would seem to characterize one as a charlatan not to mention what it would do to one's "marketing" plan. I guess I must be missing something here about the obvious and why we need to know about this. Just seems to me that advisors doing this must not remember the first thing about the internet. Nothing your post is ever lost or forgotten and can always rise up to bite you in the a#@. Just any of the politicians who continually forget this truth.
mitchellkeil , August 22, 2011
Mitch: First, when a consumer posts an unsolicited review of your business on Google Places, it's not covered by rules prohibiting RIAs from using testimonial. It's on Google's website and not on your website, and you don't control what is said. It's freedom of speech. It's not advertising.

In addition, it probably would not even occur to an advisor who fears Gd and the regulators to hire someone secretly to write fake reviews. But not all advisors have the integrity to resist breaking the rules. Greed corrupts.

And, as we have seen with all the ponzi schemes coming to light in recent months, many advisors fall victim to the temptation to commit fraud. Breaking the rules on advertising in pursuit of success is relatively a less serious offense and more advisors might be tempted.
agluck , August 23, 2011

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