Mar 25, 2014
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This is quite a long article, and delves into a number of online marketing issues. The bit that particularly interested me though (especially as an Australian, since this is an Australian marketing company) was the purchasing of reviews and online 'influence'.

How our fake business won a Customer Service award
In only a few hours and a grand total of $154 we built a substantial social following, amassed a raft of five-star reviews, had ?influencers? posting out photos of our business content, became the highest unpaid listing on some of Australia?s most popular review sites and our fake business even won a Customer Service award! Yes, you read that right, a customer service award without having a single customer (something the staff here are very proud of!).

If you don't have time to read the full article, start at "Our Social Experiment?a step by step play!" and read from there.

(Ties in nicely with the re-release of Bryan Seely's Google Maps spam book too I think )

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Oct 25, 2013
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Man, that's a crazy story Priya, thanks for sharing! Interesting seeing case studies like this, and as you pointed out in Joy's thread about the release of Bryan Seely's book, there's definitely a lot to be done still in this arena... Google still hasn't even cleared out the false reviews mentioned in the book. I know there's a lot of interesting research being done in identifying fake reviews, and I'm sure this problem will be mostly solved eventually, but in the meantime... how long will it be before consumers lose faith in reviews? Even if the problem is totally solved in a decade, if everyone 'knows' it's all fake, that'll be hard to recover from. Interesting stuff either way.


Jan 6, 2015
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I doubt there will ever be an algorithm so robust to weed away even the most basic fake review schemes. What stops an agency or business owner from finding one or two people from your city on Craigslist each week and paying them a few bucks to log in and post a review. What kind of algorithm will ever be able to sniff out such a basic scheme?
Oct 25, 2013
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Big brother's watching, never say never! Google already crawls craigslist anyway (as evidenced by the fact that the pages get indexed) so what about a decade from now when Google actually understands all those posts in a way that humans do?

I agree that a perfect review spam filter isn't in the works anytime soon, but I think the future's going to be a very strange place. For the time being though, I think there's probably a lot of improvements that could be made to the local ecosystem if Google bent more of it's muscle to spam management. From the sounds of it though, it's kind of a low priority.
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