KGW: Fake review attack targets Portland businesses

KGW: Fake review attack targets Portland businesses. “KGW Investigates learned of at least twenty pest control companies in the Portland metro area that have received dozens of fake one-star reviews on their Google business profiles over the last year. The reviews were not left by unhappy customers with a gripe — they’re fake, computer-generated and designed to hurt a company’s reputation. The fake reviews have lowered the companies’ Google ratings, cost them thousands of dollars in lost revenue and tarnished the reliability of the rating system for consumers.”

Search Engine Land: How Google and Yelp handle fake reviews and policy violations

Search Engine Land: How Google and Yelp handle fake reviews and policy violations. “Unfortunately, bad actors may seek to harm a business’s online reputation through fake reviews or by crowding them out with fake listings. While Yelp and Google both have extensive systems and policies to fight bad actors, there are important distinctions that every local marketer should be aware of, and knowing them can help frame your expectations for each platform as well as enable you to make more informed decisions about where to spend your time and resources.”

Japan News: Japanese firms help falsify Google reviews to boost medical clinic ratings

Japan News: Japanese firms help falsify Google reviews to boost medical clinic ratings . “When you look for a store or facility on Google’s search engine, a review section is displayed along with a map. Reviews on the internet not only influence people’s choice of products, but also where they go. The existence of several specialized companies that erase all the low ratings posted and replace them with high ratings has been uncovered by The Yomiuri Shimbun. These companies are said to target local medical clinics, where such ratings can make a big difference, to use their services.”

Top Reviewers Or Bot Reviewers: The Goodreads Bot Problem (Book Riot)

Book Riot: Top Reviewers Or Bot Reviewers: The Goodreads Bot Problem. “Bots. Bots are what’s going at Goodreads. Since Goodreads is also used by non-account holders, it is a desirable internet space for advertisers. What happens is that a company or individual will pay for hundreds of positive reviews of their product, so that when a potential buyer sees the reviews, all they see are positive reviews and 5-star ratings. In the case of Goodreads, the product is books. These reviews can be written by a bot or a person with multiple fake accounts.”

MIT Technology Review: Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof

MIT Technology Review: Anti-vaxxers are weaponizing Yelp to punish bars that require vaccine proof. “Spamming review portals with negative ratings is not a new phenomenon. Throughout the pandemic, the tactic has also been deployed to attack bars and restaurants that enforced mask-wearing for safety. As pandemic restrictions have lifted, businesses like Mother’s Ruin have sought to ensure that safety by requiring proof of vaccination using state-sponsored apps like New York’s Excelsior Pass, vaccine passports, or simply flashing vaccine cards at the door — practices that have instigated a second surge of spam reviews.”

CBC: Black market in Google reviews means you can’t believe everything you read

CBC: Black market in Google reviews means you can’t believe everything you read. “When Roman Abramovich, a Russian billionaire and owner of the English Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club, appeared to have posted a Google review complaining that a Manitoba moving company lost three of his watches, Chris Pereira knew something was wrong. The oligarch had never been a customer at Riverbend Moving and Storage, a small business that offers residential and commercial moving services in Winnipeg. The review was fake, and fit a pattern that Pereira, the company’s vice president of sales, had been observing for months — a slew of made-up complaints targeting the company’s online reputation.”

Yahoo News: Booming industry for fake Google reviews has ‘evaded detection’

Yahoo News: Booming industry for fake Google reviews has ‘evaded detection’. “A booming industry has emerged in fake Google (GOOGL) reviews, with businesses across the UK paying to artificially boost their ratings online. According to an investigation by consumer group Which?, fake reviewers were employing similar manipulative tactics for a wide range of businesses – from a stockbroker in Canary Wharf to a bakery in Edinburgh.”

The Verge: Yelp says it shut down 550 user accounts after discovering a fraudulent review ring

The Verge: Yelp says it shut down 550 user accounts after discovering a fraudulent review ring. “Yelp knows its credibility is only as good as its reviews, so today, it’s releasing its first Consumer Alerts Report, which details incidents in which Yelp’s team intervened to cut off fraudulent reviews or activity. The report shines a light on behavior that one would likely expect happens on a review site — people trying to game the system — but only focuses on successful cases where either Yelp’s human team or software detected abnormal behavior.”

Search Engine Land: Fake and inaccurate reviews driving billions in ‘wasted’ consumer spending [Report]

Search Engine Land: Fake and inaccurate reviews driving billions in ‘wasted’ consumer spending [Report]. “American consumers said they wasted $125, on average, in 2019 due to inaccurate reviews, a new report finds. If we extrapolate that across the adult population, as much as $25 billion in U.S. consumer spending has been wasted due to inaccurate (or fake) online reviews.”

Search Engine Land: Yelp cracks down on ‘review rings’ as Google continues to see widespread mapspam

Search Engine Land: Yelp cracks down on ‘review rings’ as Google continues to see widespread mapspam. “Yelp has almost certainly been the most aggressive of the review platforms to take action against spam and review fraud. The company has historically and controversially tried to prevent any form of review solicitation….Now the company is stepping up efforts to stop ‘review rings,’ which have become something of a cottage industry online.”

New York Times: When Is a Star Not Always a Star? When It’s an Online Review

New York Times: When Is a Star Not Always a Star? When It’s an Online Review. “An increase of just one star in a rating on Amazon correlates with a 26 percent increase in sales, according to a recent analysis by the e-commerce consulting firm Pattern. But while online reviews have become powerful sales tools, the ecosystem is relatively crude. Reviews can be easy to manipulate, and the operators of sites with the most reviews are not always motivated to crack down on fake ones planted to promote products. That leaves many consumers wondering what to believe.”