Apparent Scam Investigated by Colorado Attorney General
A local CBS news affiliate revealed recently that false Google+ profiles had been used to create online reviews for a local company that customers didn’t actually write. Online reviews are useful to local businesses to add credibility to their claims about product and service value. Positive online reviews can also improve the way search engines such as Google display the local business on the results page when users search for information.
Good search engine results page (SERP) placement can attract customers and bring in revenue, so it is no surprise that companies compete hard to get good online reviews. Occasionally though, the need to compete may push some marketers to overstep ethical boundaries.
This news investigation showed that a Denver roofing company had positive reviews on its website from satisfied customers. Unfortunately, these customers never actually wrote the reviews. Further, the report revealed that the reviews were connected to Google+ social media profiles that were never created by the reviewers.
The Colorado Attorney General’s office is looking into the matter for possible violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act as placing false reviews may constitute false advertising.
Competition for local business and revenue is intense and occasionally, some marketers get creative enough to get both themselves and their clients into trouble.