Fake reviews could soon be illegal.
If you have noticed a lot of fishy reviews on websites like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Yelp, you are not alone. The United States Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) estimates that 30 to 40 percent of online reviews are fake. But, there may be good news on the horizon for consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is proposing some new rules for this type of fraud. They plan to fine companies for buying, selling or manipulating online reviews. And the fine is a big one – $50,000 for each fake review and each time a customer sees it. Fines would be for misrepresentations of products and services, reviews by nonexistent people and reviews by employees without disclosures.
We love the idea of protecting consumers from the disingenuous review market. We do think businesses should ask for customers to post reviews, but we also we think the idea of paying for reviews that are not true is harmful for customers, and ultimately, your business. Fake reviews have become a major business for scammers. And it could get worse as Artificial Intelligence improves.
Authenticity and great customer service are much better ways to attract new customers. Especially if you are running a small or local business. We always encourage authenticity for your online presence. Click here for more recommendations to ensure online authenticity for your small business.
That does not mean we think you should disengage from online reviews about your business. There are above-board ways to engage with customers on review sites that are smart and helpful for your brand. Here are some suggestions.
We also think it is a great idea to solicit online reviews from your real customers. We have helped our clients do just that with our streamlined review management process. Find out more about what we do at this link.
You can manage your company’s online image with integrity. We think it’s better that way.