Recently the FTC posted in their blog about two cases that could qualify for “The Great American Fake-Out.” One was Sunday Riley Modern Skincare, which sells skin creams and treatments at Sephora, a global chain of personal care and beauty stores. On Sephora’s website, consumers can buy products and write reviews. For two years, managers and employees of Sunday Riley Skincare posted reviews of their company’s products using fake accounts.
Further, after some of the reviews were removed from Sephora’s website, instead of stopping the illegal practice, the company purchased an Express VPN account that would allow them to hide their IP address and location. The deception came all the way from Sunday Riley herself, as she sent emails to employees to set up fake personas in order to leave five-star reviews of their products.
They were charged with deceiving others as consumers of the products and not disclosing that reviews were written by employees of the company. Now, the company must reveal their connection within any reviews posted. Unfortunately, since the consequences were not so severe, there is room for fake reviews to still be posted online.
Another case is LendEDU, a review site for consumer shopping of loans for credit cards, student and personal loans. The site promised “honest,” “accurate” and “unbiased” ratings and reviews, due to their “strict editorial integrity. ” Unfortunately, a complaint was filed that LendEDU artificially boosts companies’ rankings based on payments to the review site.
In addition, many reviews on the LendEDU site and on other review sites such as Trustpilot were found to be written by employees of LendEDU. Because LendEDU was not truthful about the origin of these reviews and how their ranking system worked, they are now paying the price.
The lesson you can take away from these companies’ mistakes is to get reviews the simple, organic and legal way: by asking your customers for them. The easiest way to do this is with reviews management platforms such as ReviewInc, where you can automate emails and text messages to go out at key points after an interaction or purchase. Software helps follow up with customers so that they leave reviews. Your business may receive some negative reviews, but don’t worry –based on our research there are many more silent, passive but happy customers. Always encourage all customers to write reviews regardless in order to show the complete, unbiased image of your company. To find out more about ReviewInc, ask for a demo today.