According to the NYT article linked below people are offering to write positive online reviews for a fee. (HT BoctorBase)
“For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business,” offered one entrepreneur on the help-for-hire site xxx, one of a multitude of similar pitches. On another forum, xxx, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.”
I have been concerned for some time about the power of online reviews. The system may be well meaning but is rife with opportunities for abuse.
Some review sites practice what is little more than cyber extortion. If you fail to become a dues paying site member your reviews turn ugly, your star rating plummets and you have no recourse.
Most reviews are anonymous. For some reason people tend to let their vicious snark fly when they can’t be identified and held accountable. Even more importantly a conscientious business or dental practice has no way of identifying the unhappy review poster to follow up, correct the problem and make amends. In addition there is a problem with fake negative reviews from business rivals who can remain anonymous.
Now we find according to the NYT fake positive reviews are being offered to boost a business’s online presence in a kind of “review system arms race.”
Like it or not you will be faced with these issues. In fact some of you may have negative reviews online right now you are not aware of. For the time being there is no simple reliable answer to this problem. The best you can do is to Google yourself regularly to see what is being said about you online and when possible to confront and remove negative reviews.
BTW as an intersting aside, as a general rule, positive reviews far exceed negative reviews.