Certain types of negative review spam (actually I want to call it FRAUD) could be easily nipped in the bud by Google’s algo. It frustrates me to no end that businesses have to deal with issues like this.
In this case it appears to me that a company has paid Mechanical Turks or other cheap labor to post HUNDREDS of fake negative reviews for NUMEROUS moving companies all over the US. I think if this company is caught they should be sued. This is criminal!
But the point of this post is that since Google features Google Places as a review medium and promotes it widely, then GOOGLE should be responsible for nipping OBVIOUS negative review spam like this in the bud. It can really hurt a company! A REAL customer cannot (and would never) write 464 negative reviews in 2 days for companies in the same industry (like movers) that are located all over the US. It’s humanly impossible to move that many times all over the company in 2 days. Plus most of the reviews are copy/paste duplicates which is an easy tip off that these are all fake.
This type of blatant review spam is EASY to catch and eliminate with a Google algo and I think Google should be held accountable for doing something about this. See a couple suggestions below the links to the spam reviewer accounts I’m outing here.
These fake mover reviews are all nasty and negative. Here’s an example of one, that was copied and pasted to a ton of moving company Place pages on June 13th. “bad company. run by crooks. it is a scam, they mislead the customers over the phone and rip them off ! Scam ! fake addresses.”
So another concern I have is this week’s announcement about “Descriptive Terms” being added to business listings, makes it even more enticing for highly unethical companies to spam competitors Place pages with negative reviews, especially since Google often does nothing to prevent it.
Here are the Google Maps accounts of some of the fake negative review spammers. Please Google go take care of these guys!
SATANLEY 464 Negative Mover Reviews in 2 days from all over the US
Delmar 386 Negative Mover Reviews
Darling Dovert 143 Negative Mover Reviews
Sam 133 Negative Mover Reviews
A couple quick and easy suggestions that Google could implement.
There should be stops set up so people can’t post over XX numbers of reviews in one day. YES Google, I know you are trying hard to build up reviews for competitive reasons, but SMB’s livlihoods are at stake here! Plus seriously, a REAL consumer seldom takes time to write legit reviews and does not have time to sit down and do 20 in a row unless they have an agenda.
There should be stops set up so people can’t post multiple reviews at the same time for businesses in cities other than where the reviewer lives. Yes someone could be traveling a review restaurants around the country. But they would not legitimately have reviews for plumbers or movers all over the country – ESPECIALLY numerous posts in close succession.
There should be stops so people can’t just cut and paste the same reviews over and over.
There are probably lots more ways to identify and curb spam behavior, but I don’t really focus too much on reviews and don’t have time to document any more right now.
The motivation for this post came from this request for help in the Google Places forum from Delta Van Lines. Here is just ONE of the Delta Van Lines Place pages that has had NUMEROUS negative fake reviews posted. But again these reviewers are not just targeting Delta, they are posting fake reviews for many other movers too.
In addition to the negative impact the reviews can have on businesses, this Delta Van Lines employee claims to have been trying to get Google to remove the reviews since June 3rd. So there is also a time cost to the company in trying to deal with a problem that only Google has the power to solve. AND they could do it nation wide and help tons of businesses with the click of a button.
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