Tuesday
September 2, 2014

Fake Online Reviews Become Growing Problem

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Fake Online Reviews Become Growing Problem

Seventy percent of people trust online reviews, but only 14 percent believe online advertisements -- which makes a business’ focus on managing its online reputation increasingly important. 

But a growing number of fake online posts that offer up bad reviews about a company is posing a challenge, Forbes reports.  

“We’re seeing the increasing phenomena of posting by ‘exes’ — ex-employees, ex-customers, ex-friends, spouses, and romantic partners — who feel the need and believe they see the opportunity to get even by posting defamatory information and phony reviews,” says Whitney C. Gibson, a partner in the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.

In 2012, a Gartner study estimated that one in seven recommendations or ratings on social media sites -- such as Facebook -- are fake. 

New York has been cracking down on fake posters. New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman issued 19 fake review companies with fines totaling $350,000. The review site Yelp has also sued two companies for selling and posting fake reviews that have appeared at its site. 

“Courts are finding [posting] fake reviews equivalent to doing false advertising,” Gibson says. 

To guard against phony reviews, companies are using software filters that are able to detect issues such as reviewers whose opinions consistently run counter to the majority or who create multiple reviews for the same company from a single IP address. 

Source: “Online Reputation: New Methods Emerge For Quashing Fake, Defamatory Reviews,” Forbes (November 2013)

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