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Fake user reviews – don’t be tempted

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Monday August 30, 2010 )

Many online merchants have been tempted at some stage or another to post positive reviews about themselves around the web while posing as a customer. It’s not just unethical, it’s illegal.

A public relations agency hired by video game developers has been rapped on the knuckles by the FTC, who claimed it engaged in deceptive advertising by having employees pose as ordinary consumers posting game reviews.

Under an agreement with the FTC, the PR agency must now remove any of these previously posted endorsements.

It’s unfortunately a very common practice as it seems so easy to do.

Merchants often approach it in such a way that it makes it quite easy to tell that it’s not an authentic consumer endorsement – I won’t go into the tricks used here for obvious reasons.

If anyone in your company suggests it, ask them what they think the repercussions could be if it was ever discovered – and not to just consider the FTC’s reaction, but your target customers. News of this sort of behavior travels fast and it can severely compromise the legitimate hard yards you’ve put in to date in your marketing and building the business.

It’s probably worthwhile to let *all* your staff know not to post these sorts of reviews – sometimes they may do so under their own steam thinking they were just doing a good thing for the company and not considering the possible consequences.

On a related note, forum posting services sometimes engage in this sort of thing, so if you do utilize one of these services, ensure the provider is instructed to not under any circumstances allow their staff to post anything that even remotely seems like a consumer review.

Related:

Using testimonials and reviews in marketing



 

 
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