Why Paying For Positive Reviews Could Damage Your Company As it hits 2019 companies will be flooded with offers in their email inboxes and through the post. ‘January Offers’, ‘New Year Offers’, ‘Exclusive Offers’ and ‘New Customer Offers’ are some you are probably familiar with. But if you look closely at the seemingly great deals and the deals that obviously aren’t anything new, there are opportunities advertised which are actually going to harm your business.
They can be packaged up to look fantastic and can promise an increase in clients, leads or revenue for your company. A prominent example here is paid-for positive reviews, and one company has already been shut down this month for blatantly offering fraudulent services.
‘Reviewsta’ contacted businesses at the start of the year offering their paid services to create bespoke reviews on Google, TripAdvisor and Facebook, which would increase the reputation and credibility of whichever restaurant, shop or pub paid for their services.
The company advertised “we have never ever had one review removed. We use 100% safe techniques with our advanced system that will never harm your profile or business.”
Their services ranged from £150 for 1 month to £840 for 12 months and covered a different variety of “drip-fed bespoke reviews, tailored to your business.”
However, their company has now been taken down and their socials have gone offline. So why is that?
These practices are still a bit of a grey area in advertising and business industries. A recent case from Italy last year, saw one man jailed for fraudulently using a false identity to write fake reviews. The owner of PromoSalento was given a 9 month prison sentence and told to pay thousands of pounds in costs and damages for selling fake review packages to hospitality businesses in Italy.
Following the arrest, large review companies gave their thoughts on the current situation surrounding illegitimate reviews. TripAdvisor, which has been repeatedly criticised by pub owners in the UK for not cracking down on unfair reviews, said it supported the conviction of the Italian businessman.
TripAdvisor considers paid reviews an illegal significant threat, so they employ a team of investigators to work on the website to locate and remove fictitious reviews and companies that choose to abuse them.
That’s why this practice of obtaining false or paid-for reviews could be detrimental for both you and your company. Even though companies can choose to utilise paid-for reviews and quickly build up a ‘positive reputation’ it is worth keeping in mind that this can be destroyed over night if fake reviews are removed. Accounts could also be removed if they are found to have lots of fictitious data on them, which could have an even more damaging impact on your company’s reputation. So are they really worth paying for?
In 2019, social media is more prevalent and important than ever for businesses. New clients and leads are created and secured online, and nearly everyone in the workplace is only an email away. This demonstrates why you and your employees have a responsibility to represent your company’s image online in a way that only reflects positively. Social media training is a excellent tool when wanting to inform your team of the do’s and don’ts of social media use inside and outside of the workplace.