Online Reputation Companies Busted for Fake Reviews
Online Reputation Companies Busted for Fake Reviews: Online reputation management has become big business. From faking positive reviews to obscuring negative information, some companies will go to any length to look good on the Internet. Now, 19 of these companies have learned that online deception may come with too high a price tag.19 Companies Fined Over $350,000 For Posting Fake ReviewsOn September 23, 2013, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an agreement with 19 companies to “stop writing fake online reviews and pay over $350,000 in fines.” The agreement came about as a result of the “Operation Clean Turf” undercover probe into astroturfing writing and posting fake endorsements on review websites and manipulative online reputation management services. Underhanded TacticsSome of these companies used websites like CitySearch, Yelp and Google Local to post fake positive reviews of their own products and services. Reviews were written by the companys own employees and their friends, all of whom were hiding their true identities. Some companies employed tactics like hiding IP addresses and setting up fake online profiles on consumer review websites.