Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

Fake Reviews: Why We Have Never Offered Them, and Why You Should Never Buy Them

Thursday, September 26, 2013

As widely reported last week, regulators in New York state have begun to crack down on businesses that post fake reviews to boost their own or their client’s businesses.  Businesses that provide these fake reviews, many of which are SEO companies, have been the primary target of this first wave of crackdowns, but no one should think the investigations will end here.

“What we’ve found is even worse than old-fashioned false advertising,” said Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. “When you look at a billboard, you can tell it’s a paid advertisement — but on Yelp or Citysearch, you assume you’re reading authentic consumer opinions, making this practice even more deceiving.”

Another point that has been reiterated over and over is that while it might be annoying to be fooled by a fake review for a restaurant, it is potentially much more costly to believe the glowing report for the more professional services.  As the New York Times put it, “the investigation uncovered a wide range of services buying fake reviews that could do more permanent damage: dentists, lawyers, even an ultrasound clinic.”

At Omnipresent we have never provided fake reviews for our clients.  In times where we’ve noticed clients who have fake reviews from previous marketing efforts we have always advised you have them removed.  Beyond the obvious ethics issues, to put it bluntly you are risking your entire practice if you take part in a fake review scheme.  In California, and presumably most states, the Bar Association takes a very clear stand against its members participating in any advertising that is misleading.   Fake reviews seems to clearly fall in that category.

The Silver Lining

Here is the good news:  as states, bar associations and presumably review sites start cracking down on “the cheaters” those of us who have stayed honest with our reviews can only benefit.  Reviews are still one of the most powerful tools on the internet, and you should certainly encourage your clients to leave them for you if offered (preferably on Yelp or Google).  

The bottom line: never pay anyone for reviews, never offer anything for reviews, and never ever hire a company to provide you with reviews from people you never provided services.  The short term gain is not worth the long term pain.


    Ready to launch your web business?

    How can we help?

    Captcha Image