Astroturfing is a term for posting fake online reviews on websites such as Google or Yelp. Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) would like to make you aware of a recent crackdown on astroturfing by the New York Attorney General.
The New York AG conducted a year-long undercover investigation and issued a press release on September 23rd with the results. According to the press release, 19 companies have agreed to pay a total of over $350,000 in penalties for accusations of either posting fake reviews themselves or hiring reputation management companies to post for them. According to the AG many such reviews come from overseas and some marketing companies actually advertise positions for individuals who can evade filters meant to prevent fake reviews. The press release refers to these practices as false advertising and highlights the difference online reviews can make in a consumer’s choice to do business with a company. You can also view this news article from a New York media affiliate for more information.
In the Better Business Bureau’s Code of Advertising, the BBB advocates businesses using authentic customer testimonials in their advertising. Testimonials that are not genuine are considered misleading and violate BBB standards for advertising.
For more information you can trust, visit your BBB at Evansville.bbb.org.