Fake reviews are nothing new. We personally know a marketing director who thought it was great sport to create contrived reviews of his company. He thought he was beating the system and he certainly wasn’t the only one. The New York Times cited a study indicating 10 to 15 percent of online reviews are not legit.
Well, the Times is reporting that fakers in New York are now subject to legal consequences. Nineteen companies have been fined more than $350,000. The deceptive reviews posted on prominent sites, including Yahoo, Google and Yelp.
Yet, the largest consequence may not be a fine. Those who practice the art of staged or fake reviews risk their entire brand goodwill. Ask stockholders or employees associated with Arthur Andersen or Enron. Brand trust is hard earned and easily lost. Sometimes forever.
They noted marketing consultant Olivia Roat wrote an article titled “All About Fake Online Reviews: The Problem of Separating Fact from Fiction.” In the article she stresses she found “fake reviews greatly disconcerting.”
Today it will be announced her company will pay a $43,000 fine for writing fake reviews for 30 clients. Great marketing, eh? Consider more work on delivering in an authentic way and less on how to “fake it.”