Selling Fake Reviews Online - Illegal?

This Web Guy

Junior Member
Jun 21, 2010
128
35
Hi,

Does anybody know if it is illegal to sell fake online reviews?

I have heard about companies getting fined for posting / buying fake reviews, but can the seller actually get in trouble? If so then why does Fiverr allow you to post review gigs, I mean there is a whole section dedicated to them!

If it is illegal what I have in mind is putting in my T&C's that all the reviews we post will be taken from other review sites for example:

If you have reviews on Amazon we will copy these and put them onto Review Centre.

Any advice would be appreciated!
 
I Know seo argency with plenty of employes just Doing that. Mainly Hotels and Amazon. Its a Bad World........
 
I do believe if the reviews are negative you are breaking laws in the USa.

Slander: the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation.

In the USA companies are granted many of the same rights as citizens.


Good Luck- Chances of getting caught slim

(Not a lawyer- slim could still mean possible)
(Black Hat is Blackhat try using Grey HAT for this stuff )
 
If you don't say anything negative abut some one or some company it is probably legal. No one can punish you for good review even if it is fake
 
Perhaps the real question you were getting at is; "if I sell fake reviews, what bad shit can happen to me?", to which I would say "not much, maybe a nasty email or two".
 
Slander is illegal so if you're leaving negative feedback and lying in the process then yes it's immoral and illegal.

If, however, someone offers you a product in exchange for a review (much like what happens in the sales threads on here) then there's nothing wrong with that, provided the review is honest and fair.
 
It's not really illegal since there are so many people doing it..

While the legality of something in fact DOES come down to popular consensus (in any democratic country), it's not sufficient just to have a whole bunch of people doing something illegal in order to make it legal. It takes legislation, which takes elected officials, who take popularity to get elected :) So unless you plan to directly influence the creation/removal of a law or modification of a criminal code, 'many people' doing something isn't going to cut it.
 
make a policy page and write a big 2k words post.

in middle of it write "we will buy product and send it to some random people and they will post a honest review in return"
also add this "we not provide any type of info about the person who will review your product , it will violate the right to privacy"

i use "likes are provided using facebook's advertising program"

they can never get you down.
-=-
 
Hi,

Does anybody know if it is illegal to sell fake online reviews?

I have heard about companies getting fined for posting / buying fake reviews, but can the seller actually get in trouble? If so then why does Fiverr allow you to post review gigs, I mean there is a whole section dedicated to them!

If it is illegal what I have in mind is putting in my T&C's that all the reviews we post will be taken from other review sites for example:

If you have reviews on Amazon we will copy these and put them onto Review Centre.

Any advice would be appreciated!


I owned Glowing Reviews, which was sued by Edmunds last year for posting "fake reviews", so I can answer with first hand info. (Just google 'glowing reviews edmunds')

Each country will have different laws, so I'll answer with the US version. You need to read the FTC guidelines for testimonials(reviews) in advertising:
http://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/fi...stimonials/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf

After consulting with attorneys, they believed that as long as a review could be tracked back to an individual it was ok. So, for example, if you collected reviews via comment card, phone call, and email and had a way to get back in touch with the customer, it would be ok to post.

At the same time, each site that allows you to post reviews (such as Amazon in your case or Edmunds in mine) has TOS that you're supposed to follow. At every site you'll find they require that the person posting the review is the actual person who experienced the service. So if you post on behalf of someone else, you'll be violating the TOS.

I expected if any site ever got angry about me posting REAL reviews under my accounts, I'd get a C&D letter. I was wrong and got sued.

Someone else in this thread mentioned that it's ok because everyone else does it. Well, good luck with that strategy. Lots of people do this, but do you always want to live wondering when you get the call from Wall Street Journal letting you know you were sued and what your comment is?

I can give more examples of legal issues causing headaches (twitter bots a couple of years ago, Yelp suing fake review posters, etc), but suffice it to say it's probably better to find a better way to get your reviews up.

One more thing... If you incent the reviews in any way (Ie - leave a review on Amazon and you'll get 25% off your next order), according to the FTC PDF I linked, they need to say that they are a paid endorser in their review. I'd expect to get sued less often by the FTC for "forgetting this" or doing it on a small scale, but if they decide to make an example of someone look out...
 
Even if it a good review and not negative review.. if it is not true then it can b illegal..
For example giving positive review abt a hotel in Trip Advisor site, and someone looking at the review books the hotel, come to know that the review was a fake good review.. it may b illegal and unethical...
 
You were the owner of Glowing Reviews?

Well first let me say, thank you for your service because while it was around I made a lot of money thanks to you. And I'm sorry that you got sued but your considered a legend in my books. And I hope things aren't too bad for you right now.

I'll be honest though, I don't understand why you didn't do everything fully anonymous? Like I don't understand how torrent sites get away with what they do but we can't have 1 safe, fully anonymous review site?

Would it really have been that hard to make yourself / your service anonymous? That way if people want to sue you they can't find out who the hell you are? Theres got to be a way to do it safely. Look at how long silkroad was around before feds were able to penetrate it. And even now, they still haven't been taken down. There are people selling drugs and guns online and they've been getting away with it for years.

So a person should absolutely be capable of running a fake review operation... if its set up the right way.

And I think someday someone is going to capitalize on this the proper way. Maybe they'll use a different form of currency, but people needs reviews. There is a high demand for them. All we need is a more sophisticated operation who knows how to evade authorities and lawyers. If silkroad can do it, torrent sites, etc etc, someone can certainly do it for the purpose of fake reviews.


I owned Glowing Reviews, which was sued by Edmunds last year for posting "fake reviews", so I can answer with first hand info. (Just google 'glowing reviews edmunds')

Each country will have different laws, so I'll answer with the US version. You need to read the FTC guidelines for testimonials(reviews) in advertising:
http://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-publishes-final-guides-governing-endorsements-testimonials/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf

After consulting with attorneys, they believed that as long as a review could be tracked back to an individual it was ok. So, for example, if you collected reviews via comment card, phone call, and email and had a way to get back in touch with the customer, it would be ok to post.

At the same time, each site that allows you to post reviews (such as Amazon in your case or Edmunds in mine) has TOS that you're supposed to follow. At every site you'll find they require that the person posting the review is the actual person who experienced the service. So if you post on behalf of someone else, you'll be violating the TOS.

I expected if any site ever got angry about me posting REAL reviews under my accounts, I'd get a C&D letter. I was wrong and got sued.

Someone else in this thread mentioned that it's ok because everyone else does it. Well, good luck with that strategy. Lots of people do this, but do you always want to live wondering when you get the call from Wall Street Journal letting you know you were sued and what your comment is?

I can give more examples of legal issues causing headaches (twitter bots a couple of years ago, Yelp suing fake review posters, etc), but suffice it to say it's probably better to find a better way to get your reviews up.

One more thing... If you incent the reviews in any way (Ie - leave a review on Amazon and you'll get 25% off your next order), according to the FTC PDF I linked, they need to say that they are a paid endorser in their review. I'd expect to get sued less often by the FTC for "forgetting this" or doing it on a small scale, but if they decide to make an example of someone look out...
 
MY guess is he was trying to do things legit and make a great business and there for used real contact information. Anyways he learned a lesson for all of us here so PROPS 4 Extropy!!
 
Yeh thats the problem. As much as I loved Glowing Reviews and respect Extropy I knew from the first day I signed up for GR (like 9 months ago) that his site wasn't going to last.

It boggles my mind too. Cause he's obviously a sharp guy. But not sharp enough to understand that when you're selling fake reviews, you are NOT doing something "legit", so you do NOT try to be "legit". You keep your shit hidden and secure. No phone numbers, no addresses, no IPs that can be tracked to you, no payment systems that can be tracked to you, then you raise your price a bit for the security. I would have gladly paid double the price glowing reviews was charging if I knew that money was going towards security. And I don't mean to sound like a dick cause the guy is a legend, but the way he flaunted his operation was clearly stupid.

MY guess is he was trying to do things legit and make a great business and there for used real contact information. Anyways he learned a lesson for all of us here so PROPS 4 Extropy!!
 
Fake review seems not good, yes I totally agree. However, I think above 50% of review in the internet are fake.
 
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