3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Astroturf
Astroturfing, or the practice of posting fake positive reviews, is still a very prominent practice in spite of its many pitfalls. As many as 20% of all reviews may be fake ones, paid for or posted by the business owner themselves.
There’s big money wrapped up in an online review. The loss of a single “star” on a 5 star rating can have serious financial consequences for any business owner. So it’s easy to see why so many people are tempted by the practice of astroturfing.
Unfortunately, it simply doesn’t help you as much as you think it does. Here are 4 reasons why you should avoid the practice altogether.
1. You’ll be sued.
Review sites are getting aggressive about suing businesses who engage in astroturfing. Sometimes they’re getting government involved, too. For example, New York is working extra hard to track down people who engage in the practice.
19 companies have already paid out $350,000 after being caught red-handed.
2. You’ll be publicaly shamed.
Astroturfing might help you in the short term, if you can get the review past aggressive filters. However, if you’re caught your reputation will take a rapid nose-dive.
Yelp has taken to shaming companies who engage in the practice. They place a big warning on the company’s Yelp page which tells everyone that the company is suspected of creating fake reviews. They also post a link to any evidence they’ve found.
This makes you look desperate, like you’re the type of business that has to have fake reviews in order to survive. Customers won’t believe much that is positive about you after reading something like that. Staying in business, at that point, becomes a challenge.
3. You just make the sites more relevant.
The best way to handle third-party review sites is to make them as irrelevant as possible. This means working on building your own positive web profile, a profile that pushes these sites down to the bottom of the Search Engine Results. When you do this, you can stop worrying so much about what people are (and are not) saying about you, and focus on being the best business that you can be, instead.
If you find that you can’t do all of this on your own (and it is a daunting job, to be sure) then reach out to get help from a trustworthy online reputation management company. They’ll be able to build this overall web presence for you, ensuring that your “star rating” doesn’t dictate your business success.
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