Warning: Using fake reviews could cost your small business big time

cat asleep on a keyboardWorried about the reviews your small business is getting online?

Maybe they’re less than enthusiastic about your business, or maybe you’re just not getting many customers writing reviews.

And maybe someone’s been in touch offering to help rectify that situation with a few nicely worded, strategically placed, keyword optimised reviews?

Stop right there!

Before you go any further down that path, consider this single fact: earlier this year the Federal Court ordered two Australian businesses to pay combined penalties of $125,000 after it found they faked testimonials (reviews) and made false or misleading representations to the public. (Full story at Smart Company)

Pretty scary stuff right? For many small businesses that is most definitely not pocket money and might even result in the business going under completely.

Double whammy

This isn’t just about the money though. In addition to paying actual money as a result of this judgement, these two businesses have also ended up smearing their online reputation.

Any Google search for either of their names is going to bring up not only the Federal Court’s judgement but any blog posts (like the Smart Company article) about that judgement.

So much for their attempts to garner trust through their fake reviews – from now on, no savvy customer is going to touch them with a barge pole.

So what next?

Well the next time someone offers to help you get amazing reviews online – have a good long chat with them about how they’re planning to do that, and make sure it isn’t going to cost you more than just their fees.

Want more information on online reviews and how to get them legitimately? Get in touch with me and let’s chat!

[Image via Flickr]


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