Recently I received a private email from someone who befriended me about two years back on FaceBook. Bear in mind that I have never met this person or frequented his business. His email read:
I would really appreciate it if you would take a minute to support me on Stik.com. I hold myself to a high standard in business, and your review will help me establish trust with future clients.
My profile is here: www.stik.com/recommend/O**&666La*&^%n.()*tin.*&^guez
Fountain Valley, California”
Now granted, I get why he sent out such a request; however, I cannot fulfill such a request because I have never purchased or used any of the services his business provides. Additionally, the larger picture here is to grasp how many others did provide fake reviews that have never purchased, subscribed, or used any of the services his business provides. Why is this important you ask? Because paid fake or false reviews are spam, and in 2009 the FTC determined:
“paying for positive reviews without disclosing that the reviewer had been compensated equates to deceptive advertising and would be prosecuted as such.”
Now technically I would not have been compensated to write the fake review, but the firm who is collecting the reviews as well as hosting them on their site along with distributing those reviews across the Web is being compensated. That is to say, this type of posturing is nothing more than paid spamming because the firm who is being paid to collect these reviews has no factual valid way of determining if the reviewer ever actually consumed any of the products or serviced made available outside of someone merely having a FaceBook profile. Notice that I said factural. This type of spam is worse than any stranger writing a negative review about your business because the positive spam review is deceptive.
Here is another example of social review spam. In June 2013, an online social site, where I have a profile, sent this email to me:
Your service profile “is ranked in the Top 3 among in Hayward.
Spread the word and earn 25 points.
Promote your highlighted status by adding a link to your website, and earn 25 points. Reply to this email to let us know when you’re done and we’ll award your points!“
Now as much as I do love holding outward social recognition rewards, I had to think beyond the cheap rush. See this social network did not do its homework concerning my location. In fact, their response to my WTF about their email stated:
“Our policy is to place you on the highest-trafficked “landing page” that is nearest to your place of business.
Getting listed on a landing page is determined by a fairly complex algorithm developed by our engineers. That algorithm takes into account many things, including the number of other people in your profession and area, the population of nearby cities, how many Thumbtack points you and others have, and the amount of traffic Google has in your area.“
I guess thumbtrack’s algorithm and ideas about social scaling still need fine-tuning. In other words, their email announcement is worthless social spam.
See as an online marketer and business owner, I know you want 5 star reviews. What business today does not want 5 star reviews? Today’s social media craze helps sitr consumer to buy. Verily, social popularity is becoming the new SEO indicator when it comes to page rank for both large and small online businesses according to the machine lords; however, as tempting at it maybe to buy reviews or accept misaligned social recognition, think twice. Why? Because fake reviews from people who have never purchased your product, service, or interacted with your brand prior to giving positive reviews, are fakes. Additionally, fake social anything does not dress a business attractive seeing that it is nothing more than spam, and once the bots get wise your website will be punished.
So what can you do to organically increase your social review popularity online?
Here are eight social dos to get you started:
1. Engage with your customers online, and be sincere
2. Don’t make online social experiences complicated
3. Be a giver even if you don’t benefit
4. Don’t talk about yourself because it’s not about you; instead, talk about how your brand can benefit your customer
6. Do participate daily because no one wants to engage with a business that is not social
7. Do have a loyalty program, and encourage your loyal customers to tell their friends online as well as offline about your business
8. Listen to what your social audience says, and make necessary improvements to your business
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Manco, Darryl (July 3, 2013). Social Reviews Dos and Don’ts [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://elijahclark.com/social-reviews-dos-and-donts/