The topic of fake reviews in Google Places (which has been around for what seems like forever) is getting airtime on Denver TV.
KMGH (Channel 7) in Denver ran a story over the weekend about something that’s no secret to anyone following local search/reviews — small businesses can hire companies to post fake positive reviews.
What’s amazing to me is how forthcoming the owner of the marketing company is in admitting that her company is making fake Google accounts and posting positive reviews. But, on the other hand, I think most companies involved in that kind of activity would probably try to deny any knowledge if the local media started asking questions … so, in one sense, it’s actually refreshing that the company accepted responsibility for its practices.
Part of me wants to feel bad for the small businesses whose Google Places listings now have a collection of review spam (regardless if the reviews came from actual customers, the fact that the marketing company was posting them from phony Google accounts makes it spam) because they claim in the story to have not been aware that this was happening … Mike B. wisely shares his skepticism on that aspect of the story.
And, on a related note, Nyagoslav Z. shares a related article on his blog: 8 Ways to Recognize Fake Google Reviews.