Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You

Description:  New York regulators will announce on Monday the most comprehensive crackdown to date on deceptive reviews on the Internet.


Date: Sept. 22, 2013

The yearlong investigation encompassed companies that create fake reviews as well as the clients that buy them. Among those signing the agreements are a charter bus operator, a teeth-whitening service, a laser hair-removal chain and an adult entertainment club. Also signing are several reputation-enhancement firms that place fraudulent reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo.

A phony review of a restaurant may lead to a bad meal, which is disappointing. But the investigation uncovered a wide range of services buying fake reviews that could do more permanent damage: dentists, lawyers, even an ultrasound clinic.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

1. What do you feel is the best way to discern authentic reviews on the web ? Why?

2.  Do you feel that this problem could be the end of a service like Yelp Why or  Why Not?


55 thoughts on “Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You

  1. Shannon Storey

    I think that it is hard to determine whether a review on the web is authentic or not.
    This is a tough one for me because how many companies actually do this? I guess I am naïve as I would never have thought to employ this kind of tactic in order to profit and promote my business. To me word of mouth between friends is more authentic and better serves both parties.
    I tend to not trust sites like “rate your dr”, “Rate your prof” as in general I think people are much bolder behind their computer screen that they ever would be in person, and also they don’t always have to give their name. This would also be true in the event of being “rewarded” for a review. I can’t say that I would be able to resist a slight embellishment in order to get something in return. We are a “get something for nothing” type generation which is what these companies are hoping for. They are hoping to get more customers for the least amount of effort.
    This is completely unethical to me (even though I said I may have trouble fighting the temptation given the chance) for a company to pay someone to find reviews for them. I am glad that someone is finally cracking down on them and putting some rules and regulations around it. I am also in support of the penalties that they have to pay as a result of their choice. If it was me, they would have to print a statement on their website stating that they have partaken of this shady activity. But that is just me!

  2. Bryan Litchfield

    I think that this is a method that is ultimately doomed to fail. If a company really offered a good product then the users would give it a good review, at the same time if it offered a bad product bad reviews. when you see a small amount of good reviews and a large amount of bad reviews without many in the middle its easy to tell that it could be a company doing those reviews. Also if there product really is bad then despite of all the good reviews more bad reviews will show up making those good reviews less trustworthy. i dont feel this could end a service like yelp because there are enough other people reviewing and people are more swayed by negative comments then they are by good comments so all those good comments companies leave about themselves wont matter as much anyways.

  3. Brett Hempel

    This is a moral and ethical question, as a business person i would completely use this to my advantage, but as the saying goes give an inch they take a mile. I dont think these companies will go anywhere because the length that we would have to go to stop this is far to great. We can tell people to stop making fraudulent claims but were always going to break the rules. I would still use these websites because there is going to be more legitament claims then there would be fake. But this will change as time goes on and more and more people pick up on this matter. Strategically it is very smart to me, but very immoral.


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