Although extrememly unethical, many businesses and organizations are tempted to post fake positive reviews about their products and services in order to boost business and make themselves look better than their competitors. I’ve even seen how some SEO firms and so called on-line reputation management consultants will offer to obtain fake positive reviews for a business.
In some jurisdictions, not only is this considered unethical and a very poor way of conducting business, it’s also against the law. If you’re dealing with an SEO company or are using the services of an on-line reputation management firm and they are suggesting they can help you obtain positive reviews and post them on various review sites like Google Places, Yelp, and others, be very very careful. In fact, walk away. It could cost you far more in the long run.
In New York State, a cosmetic surgery business called Lifestyle Lift has been left with a $300,000.00 fine in a settlement with the State, according to this New York Times article. The article states:
“The company had ordered employees to pretend they were satisfied customers and write glowing reviews of its face-lift procedure on Web sites, according to the attorney general’s statement. Lifestyle Lift also created its own sites of face-lift reviews to appear as independent sources.
Andrew M. Cuomo, New York’s attorney general, said in a statement that Lifestyle Lift’s “attempt to generate business by duping consumers was cynical, manipulative and illegal.” “
There are ways to get legitimate positive reviews that are real. And of course, there are ways to deal with the odd negative review that might pop up on Page 1 of Google that is equally not a legitimate review but someone attempting to smear your reputation. Choosing other methods which may seem “easy” at the time could very well come back to haunt you, however.
There are all kinds of people who are willing to take what seems like a small amount of money to post fake reviews on your behalf. Don’t do it. It’s not worth the temptation in the long run, and in the end, your repuation may become so besmirched, you will never recover.