Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fake It at Your Own Risk

Let's say you visit a site like and discover scathingly negative reviews of your product or service. Making matters worse, only a few of your happy customers have balanced the harsh criticism with their praise.

In such a scenario, you might be tempted to pose as a customer and leave some positive words about your company. "The temptation to post fake reviews is so strong because in a recent Nielsen report, over 70% of web users trust online reviews," says Bryan Stapp at Loud Amplifier Marketing. "So why not try to scam the system?"

Fake User Reviews are a dumb idea

The thing I like best about user generated content and user reviews is that its really easy to spot the fakes.

The company behind Lifestyle Lift—a surgical mini-facelift—found out the hard way when New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo questioned positive reviews posted to sites like and After Cuomo alleged they were written by employees, not customers, the company paid a $300,000 settlement and promised to discontinue the practice of writing its own reviews.

Instead of attempting to counteract negative feedback in this manner, argues Stapp, companies should use the criticism to improve a product or service. The natural outcome will be positive reviews from actual customers.

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