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Is it illegal to post fake reviews?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by theindiaphile, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. theindiaphile

    theindiaphile Senior Member

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    I see a lot of online reputation management services springing up. Tempted to join the fray but then I wonder about the legality of all this. Is commissioning fake reviews illegal? I don't have a problem with the ethics of it, personally, because I feel it's unfair for a business owner to have their whole brand ruined by a couple of negative comments, but I don't wish to break the law?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. littleg2008

    littleg2008 Senior Member

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    it depends what country and also what the review actually says.


    Personally i would always post fake reviews but only saying stuff like, item arrived quickly, great product, very helpful customer service etc.

    not stuff like - this product made me lose 1000 lbs in 2 days or this software made me $10k in 24 hours etc.

    So putting it simply i dont use the reviews to say blatant lies over selling the product.

    if your doing fake reviews i would always recommend just keeping it nice and simple and not overplaying each review
     
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  3. ADHD-Dude

    ADHD-Dude Power Member

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    No, it isn't illegal

    Any way why do you care?
     
  4. partymarty4870

    partymarty4870 Elite Member

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    I don't really know the legalities of it, but ethically I couldn't do it.

    I'm not saying that I never would have done it - but where I'm at now I can afford to earn a dollar with good karma.
     
  5. hurn

    hurn Power Member

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    It is not illegal but these days reputable companies are using testimonial verifying serives to prove customers. In that case you can't use those services.
     
  6. TheMatrix

    TheMatrix BANNED BANNED

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    If you use a person's picture, his name and/or other credentials to post fake reviews, and he's kinda an insane person, he can very well sue you.
     
  7. Espeed

    Espeed Newbie

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    No way is it illegal.

     
  8. jimmytalibs

    jimmytalibs Junior Member

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    It might not be illegal if he knows and he can and want to sue you. Otherwise i just think it's unfair and lack of creativity, and a person doing this wont go far with it. As his mind is VERY limited!
     
  9. littleg2008

    littleg2008 Senior Member

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    all the people saying it is not illegal needs to check which country they are in. I am in UK and i can say it is very much illegal to post fake reviews
     
  10. littleg2008

    littleg2008 Senior Member

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  11. drac313

    drac313 Junior Member

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    To avoid any trouble, just copy and paste reviews from vitals and yelp and stuff, because those are real.
     
  12. theindiaphile

    theindiaphile Senior Member

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    Yes I'm in the UK and just spoke to a lawyer about this because I wanted to be sure. The facts of the matter are:


    “falsely representing oneself as a consumer” is one of the 31 specific prohibitions in schedule 1 (It is number 22) of the “consumer protection from unfair trading” regulations 2008 which implemented the “unfair commercial practices” directive which was adopted in 2005.


    The Government decided that a breach of regs will be a criminal offence (The duty to enforce is on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and local authority Trading Standards Services) and the penalty is
    • On a summary conviction is a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (£5000)
    • On an indictment, a fine or up to two years imprisonment or both

    Point being, steer clear unless you want to share your cell with a guy named Bubba!
     
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  13. jon_xx_x

    jon_xx_x Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Lawyers are stupid though.
    There's no way someone is going to waste time trying to fine you for making a fake review, or waste time trying to prove you did it.

    In the .0000001% chance anything happened, you said client wanted you to post the review for him because he didn't know how to do it. Pay customer $100 to agree. Problem solved.
     
  14. TheMatrix

    TheMatrix BANNED BANNED

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    Ummm....

    Code:
    http://channelnine.ninemsn.com.au/blog.aspx?blogentryid=728883&showcomments=true
    Code:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/technology/internet/15lift.html?_r=1
     
  15. jon_xx_x

    jon_xx_x Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Sorry, I was talking about positive reviews. Of course if you're smearing a company's name there's a chance. But even still, that looks like just a threat.
     
  16. theindiaphile

    theindiaphile Senior Member

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    This is true. Fake positive reviews are unlikely to land you in too much hot water, by the sound of things. Defamation, however, is another matter and would never even cross my mind. I'm kind of in a grey area, however, when it comes to positive reviews. If someone's Google places page has bad reviews on it, it's simply the easiest and cheapest solution for all to bury them. Yes, one could work with them to utilise their existing client base bla bla bla but it will take a while....and time means money. And who has this?
     
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  17. cool0403

    cool0403 BANNED BANNED

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    It is not illegal .... until you get caught!
     
  18. 7878

    7878 Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Why would you assume faking positive reviews is the only way to get them?
     
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  19. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    That may be true if you were to just make a post review every now and again. But some agency like the FTC (or similar agencies in other countries) might be more likely to go after a company that's providing fake reviews en masse for a profit though.
     
  20. dragonrage01

    dragonrage01 Power Member

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    It is illegal in the US according to the FTC