In this age of information, you can find everything there is to know about a business with just a little bit of research. So, it is very important that business owners manage their online reputation. However, some businesses are having to do major damage control, while other businesses have found ways to “cheat” the online review systems. By “cheating the system,” these businesses not only post fictitious reviews, but give YOUR contact information to 3rd parties. We want YOU, our customers, to be aware of it.
Wilson’s Home Improvement works very hard to make sure are customers are satisfied. We, personally, send our surveys to our customers to ask for honest feedback. So, when we’ve been approached by several companies offering to “buy and post positive reviews,” we were shocked! Therefore, we decided to do some research into this wave of deception that is sweeping across our unregulated industry. We feel customers need to know.
There are MANY different companies out there that offer this type of service to one extent or another. Below is a couple of the most popular way the review systems are being manipulated. As a result, it provides untrue views of businesses across the internet.
- Companies contact small business owners; telling them they can bury their bad reviews. They tell them that more positive reviews will help “move them up” in Google Places above their competition. They offer to post FAKE, positive reviews on the Google business pages and other online forums to help raise the business’ ranking. The fake reviews are made by people whom have never done business with the company, and often times not even located within the same state or sometimes, the United States. The offer is enticing to business owners that struggle with their reputation, because not only will it “stack the deck” in their favor, but also drive more traffic to their company website. The services these companies provide are not only deceitful to you, the customer, but ILLEGAL. By hiring the services, the business owner is putting their company in jeopardy of receiving penalties from Google, and more so a HUGE fine from the FTC. According to the FTC, posting fake reviews are illegal. The guidelines, issued by the FTC in 2009, state what they deem “unfair or deceptive advertising,” regarding online reviews and testimonials.
- Other “review” companies actually contact the business’ customers, for a “fee,” soliciting the customer for a review. That’s right; they give YOUR information to a 3rd party. The “review generation company” will then submit a questionnaire to you, asking specific questions about your experience with the business. However the “review companies” post only favorable reviews. These are not fake reviews, as discussed previously, but by posting only favorable reviews, they COMPLETELY skew the listings in the business’ favor.
When deciding whether to trust online reviews of any business you may be researching, please consider the following:
If you are on a business’ website reading their reviews and it links you to ANOTHER webpage, with another business’ name followed by a forward slash (/) and THEN the business you’re researching, be EXTREMELY leery. (i.e.https://www.reviewgenerationcompany.com/Wilson’sHomeImprovement) This is just an example of the #2 “review generation” company listed above. The majority of the reviews you will read on this page will be PERFECT scores. Remember, the business is paying that company to show you perfect reviews, all the while, giving their customer’s information to a 3rd party.
- If you notice a business has multiple reviews posted on the same day, steer clear of that business. Nine out of ten times, the reviews you are reading are FAKE, and we recommend reporting those companies to the FTC.
There are two types of companies in our industry:
- The companies that lead the pack, set the narrative, and blaze a trail. These companies have excellent customer service, focusing on doing the right thing for you, the customer.
- The companies, who have ruined their reputation by giving horrible customer service, have often changed their name and/or business model multiple times. They imitate company #1, but never seem to be able to duplicate it.
We urge you to research companies within this, or any, industry BEFORE you allow them to work on your home. We apologize that our unregulated industry lends itself to so many that can and will do anything to get business. At one time, it was only gimmicks and shoddy work that needed to be addressed. Now, it’s any online reviews that you need to be careful of trusting.
Rest assured, once Wilson’s Home Improvement EARNS your business, we want to keep it! AND, we want you to be able to refer your friends and family. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call (866) 262-9908.
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