Finding the best restaurant to dine at, or the best roof repair company to fix a leak, is a task many do online. In their search, reviews are commonly read to decide between the option, especially if the job is a large one. In a lot of fields, online reviews will decide the failure or success of a business.
This brings us to the heavy topic of deciding who to believe among the sea of reviewers and businesses. Reviews are often placed by a company themselves, or an employee/freelance agent paid to leave the review.
This is the same for bad reviews. Some might have vendettas against the company, or have a specific bad experience that was not the company’s fault. The effect of bad reviews are not short-lived, with incidents arising throughout New Mexico.
Solving The Scam Of Fake Reviews
There are websites dedicated to revealing these fraud reviews. One of the most prevalent is Reviewfraud.org. The creator, Jason Brown, is an advocate for consumers and the website’s goal is to snuff out fake reviews placed by the company in their own favor.
Stephen Aarons of Sante Fe, New Mexico was accused of using fake reviews. First a fake five-star reviewer with a mugshot profile picture of Mathew Muller who could not have posted a review from behind bars. Even when asked, Attorney Aarons had no answer beside they did not represent Julius Bush and it could be used to keep anonymity from the real client’s end.
Aarons was then found to have written a review himself on his own law practice, and several other reviews had the same lines, or figures of speech. This is all about conflict of interest. You cannot write reviews for your business justly and without bias, so it is misleading.
The Review Hosting Sites
Google reviews are actually linked to a specific email address of the owner, and most of those using a personal email would not use a vague stock photo as a profile picture. On Yelp, they recommend certain reviews (around 71%), and in their review process some fake reviews are not recommended, making them less likely to be seen by consumers.
Court trials have occured over fake reviews. In a case against a company accused of fake reviews loitering ther Amazon weight-loss supplement, they were found liable for $12.8 million dollars of damages to the Federal Trade Commision. This is FTC’s first claim against a company for fake reviews.
Fake Reviews In New Mexico
Spotting fake reviews is not as easy as it could seem. Consumers are falling for them even here in New Mexico, and even the review-hosting site are not experts at picking them all out.When there is money at stake, companies will go to any length to increase their profits.
Just because a company has fake reviews does not mean it does not do its profession well. Many of our fields are over-saturated, so to stand out they need to show up higher in ranking in Google searches, etc. It is not completely fair, or moral, to lie to consumers, and that is the issue.