LAW: Businesses faking user generated reviews

Uhoh. Bad news for fakers – from The Times (hat tip: G2 New Zealand)

Fake bloggers soon to be ‘named and shamed’

Hotels, restaurants and online shops that post glowing reviews about themselves under false identities could face criminal prosecution under new rules that come into force next year.

Businesses which write fake blog entries or create whole wesbites purporting to be from customers will fall foul of a European directive banning them from “falsely representing oneself as a consumer”.

From December 31, when the change becomes law in the UK, they can be named and shamed by trading standards or taken to court.

If they actually implement this, it will have HUGE repercussions. Not just for the one-off individuals who:

Shortly before Christmas, the owner of the Drumnadrochit Hotel near Loch Ness admitted to posting a fake review of his own venue on the TripAdvisor site, calling it “outstanding” and “charming”. David Bremner said: “Maybe I shouldn’t have done it. But I don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

In 2004, it emerged that John Rechy gave himself a five-star review on Amazon for his book The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens, which was attributed only to “a reader from Chicago”. Amazon since has tightened up procedures to try and verify the identity of reviewers.

Black Hat Marketers beware! And me, I really have to stop posting how splendicious and fantabulous I am on everyone’s blog. 😛 What impact does this have on payperpost reviews? Will we have such a law in Australia?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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