The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ruled against a marketing company that posted fake reviews on iTunes to promote their clients’ games. Reverb Communications will have to remove all the fake reviews it posted, and some marketing companies are going to have to review their social media marketing services.
The problem of fake reviews is widespread within social sites (as anyone who has checked out Trip Advisor will know!). Simply posting great reviews of your products, or bad reviews of competitors’ products seems like an easy way to boost your reputation online. However, it’s clear that review sites – as well as regulators – are going to have to stamp out the practice if social recommendation is going to maintain credibility amongst users. I’m pretty sure that in a very short time the cost of getting caught posting a fake review is going to outweigh any potential benefits.
The BBC website has more on the Reverb Communications case.