Tony Wang

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A client recently got 3 positive reviews that raised my antennae (they have a small client base, so getting 3 in close order is suspicious). Client definitely did not pay anyone for this and they aren't real customers.

They all sounded somewhat similar, but definitely not just a cut and paste. I checked all three profiles; for each one, the profile had only a few reviews, left on the same day, but different for each profile; all reviews were in the same town as client's business.

My first suspicion was that someone was building up those profiles to use in selling fake reviews in town. But the fact that my client was the only overlapping business out of all the reviews seemed super strange. Like maybe it was an elaborate scheme to somehow discredit client by accusing them of buying fake reviews. Haha, that's probably a bit paranoid.

Ok, I just took a few minutes and dug a little deeper and looked at some of the other businesses that those reviewers reviewed. I did see some patterns, but don't have time to pursue it. This reminds me of the elaborate fake review network that Mike Blumenthal (I think?) outed a while back.

I can't think of any repercussions against client other than having those reviews deleted if reported.

Other thoughts anyone?
 

Phil Rozek

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Possible explanations (I can think of), from most likely to least likely:

1. Your client sent out a blast of review requests. But the request didn't compel anyone to write a great review - just A review, perhaps under a pen name.

2. The client is working with a shifty ORM company, without your say-so.

3. The reviews may have been meant for another company, especially if there's one in the area with a name similar to your client's name.

4. If your client has a very high average rating (like 4.8 - 5.0) then even a few "positive" 4-star reviews would drag down his or her average a bit. It's possible those 3 reviews are the first of many.

5. Old filtered reviews got un-filtered.

Based on what you say, I can't think of any repercussions other than (1) the reviews get removed and (2) maybe the "optics" are bad for your client in the meantime.
 
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