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Fake online reviews a growing problem


NEW YORK – Nov. 14, 2013 – Seventy percent of people trust online reviews, but only 14 percent believe online advertisements, making it important for a business to focus on its online reputation.

But a growing number of fake online posts offer up bad reviews, and it’s posing a challenge for business owners, according to a report from Forbes.

“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 on its site.

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

To guard against phony reviews, companies some companies use software filters that can 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)

© Copyright 2013 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Related Topics: Marketing