The Review Solution & Steven Wyer Explain Risks of Fake Feedback

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Many business owners believe that creating fake reviews is a smart way to make a good name for themselves. However, according to digital marketing and online review expert Steven Wyer, these businesses risk their reputations by breaking Google’s guidelines and potentially face legal ramifications. Steven Wyer elaborates below.

Q: What are some ways that businesses create fake reviews?

Steven Wyer: There are two primary means by which a business can collect false reviews. One is by exchanging reviews with other businesses; the other is by simply paying for them.

Q: What is the Google Guides program?

Steven Wyer: The Google Guides program is an extension of the Google Maps feature. Essentially, Google Maps users volunteer to answer questions or leave feedback based on places they’ve been, according to the location of their smart phone.

Q: Are SEO companies encouraging fraudulent feedback?

Steven Wyer: Unfortunately, there are a number of unscrupulous firms, many which are based overseas, that push fake reviews as a way for their clients to see quick results in their SEO campaign.

Q: How can posting a fake review be a crime?

Steven Wyer: A number of attorneys have argued that knowingly publishing fraudulent information violates the Federal Consumer Protection Act as well as fair trade practices laws.

Q: Are reviews given in exchange for a free product the same as those exchanged for money?

Steven Wyer: Yes. In reality, even if someone doesn’t actually like – or use – a product they are given in exchange for review, there’s a good chance they’ll review it favorably so that they will be eligible for more free stuff later on.

Q: Do fake reviews affect how consumers perceive legitimate reviews?

Steven Wyer: Absolutely. The more aware consumers become about the practice of sourcing fake reviews, the harder it is to believe any positive feedback.

Q: What are some ways to tell if a review is fake?

Steven Wyer: A dead giveaway is when a company suddenly has an influx of glowing reviews in a short timeframe after having a history of negative or mediocre feedback. Reviews that seem to follow a script are another common problem.

Q: In your opinion, how can companies more effectively collect real reviews?

Steven Wyer: Most businesses that serve their customers well can simply ask for a review. The chances of collecting reviews are even greater if the business asks following the conclusion of service and makes it easy for the consumer to provide a rating.

Q: Do reviews really matter?

Steven Wyer: Online reviews matter now more than ever as the majority of online information seekers will skip doing business with a company if they are rated poorly.

Q: As a consumer, how do I benefit from leaving a review of a company if they offer me nothing in exchange?

Steven Wyer: You benefit as part of a larger group of people looking out for each other’s welfare by sharing your open and honest opinion about a business. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool and one that both businesses and consumers can utilize for the benefit of all concerned.