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Fake blog reviews crackdown

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday February 14, 2007 )

I think that what’s really needed is more investment in teaching consumers the principles of “caveat emptor” – let the buyer beware.

It’s still the wild west out here and these types of laws tend to impact the little guy more than those who really deserve to be hammered.

Read more about the UK crackdown on Times Online

Related:

Reassuring your site visitors

Flog Blogging

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As part of sweeping changes to European Union consumer protection laws, the United Kingdom will be cracking down on businesses who blog or post fake reviews.

From the beginning of next year; business owners caught posting misleading blog entries claiming to be a client of a business, or any other type of fake reviews submission or a full site could see criminal prosecution.

It’s a great idea in theory, particularly the name and shame aspect, but in regards to the criminal prosecution, like the CAN SPAM Act, it will fail horribly in my opinion.

The policing of something like this will be terribly difficult. It may stop some of the less savvy, malicious and aggressive businesses from engaging in this sort of behavior, but it will effectively give the more aggressive offenders a clearer playing field; boosting their own sales.

I can see an even greater trade in services offering to perform this kind of fake review posting on behalf of businesses – run from overseas of course and untraceable. It would no doubt be a very cheap exercise as some of the other forum posting services are.

Even if there was some successful tracing, imagine a competitor hiring one of these shady firms to tout *your* products and services in such a way, then filing a complaint; bam – I believe it will be a case of guilty until proven innocent.

This also sends up another red flag for UK businesses – if you have reviews or testimonials on your site; do you have a copy of the original communication from the customer? If not, it’s probably time to start keeping them, especially in the case that you are using testimonials that only have the persons first name and last initial published. This will be another nasty little trick that competitors could play on you.

I think that what’s really needed is more investment in teaching consumers the principles of “caveat emptor” – let the buyer beware.

It’s still the wild west out here and these types of laws tend to impact the little guy more than those who really deserve to be hammered.

Read more about the UK crackdown on Times Online

Related:

Reassuring your site visitors

Flog Blogging



 

 
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