Disclaimer: This page does not contain legal advice.
There is no doubt that purchasing fake reviews is against the rules and guidelines of every platform. It does not necessarily mean, however, that this practice is illegal. In this article, we will discuss the potential legal implications involved when dealing with forged reviews.
Is buying fake reviews against the law?
Among the guidelines established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States are those governing online reviews and endorsements. FTC guidelines prohibit reviewers or endorsers from receiving compensation for reviews or endorsements without disclosing their connection to the company. Both positive and negative reviews are included in this category.
The FTC also prohibits advertising and marketing practices that are deceptive or misleading, such as using false or misleading reviews and testimonials. Penalties and fines may apply to those who violate these guidelines. However, it’s relatively rare to see companies persecuted for fake reviews. That is especially true for small businesses, which are generally considered safe.
In short, when you buy fake reviews in the United States, you may be violating a number of laws, including state consumer protection laws and laws related to deceptive or misleading advertising. The rest of the world has other laws and bodies that regulate online testimonials, however, there are very few cases of companies accused of forging fake reviews on their business pages.
Can I be persecuted for purchasing fake reviews?
While it is less common for individuals to be prosecuted for being involved with fake reviews, it is not unusual for big companies to face legal action in these cases. Fake reviews can lead to lawsuits by the FTC or other regulatory bodies, or consumers may file private lawsuits against companies that engage in this practice.
Based on local laws and actions taken by regulatory bodies or private parties, it is possible for companies or individuals to be prosecuted for purchasing fake reviews. This practice has legal implications that should be taken into account. Nonetheless, small businesses trying to improve their online reputation should not be scared.
Most notably, in 2013 a total of nineteen companies were fined a total of $350,000 for either selling or purchasing fake reviews. Some of the companies involved were reputation management and improvement firms, while others were clients. One of the companies involved in the scandal allegedly hired freelancers to post fake reviews. [Source: NY Times]
The largest fine for fake reviews recorded to date is nearly 13 million dollars. The lawsuit involved Amazon and a company selling weight-loss supplements. The food and supplement industries are taken very seriously in the United States. Especially when companies are making false health-related claims. [Source: Inc]
How can I avoid being fined for fake reviews?
As explained in our article regarding fake reviews and where to buy them, platforms like Tripadvisor or Trustpilot are always on the lookout for fake reviews. Because of this, it is imperative to treat this matter with the utmost importance. Hiring freelancers or relying on companies that promise cheap “sticky” reviews may sound tempting, but it has serious consequences.
There is no reason you should renounce success simply because of possible consequences. In light of that, you might want to consider entrusting this service to experts who successfully provide this service while being fully undetectable. Would you believe us if we told you that even Fortune 500 companies regularly purchase fake reviews? If you understood the importance of positive reviews and how greatly they can enhance conversation rates, you would.
In order to scale and get more scales, it is critical to have positive reviews. Successful companies know that and take advantage of it. At this point, you may wonder: How can multi-billion-dollar companies break the law and get away with it? The answer is rather simple: online reputation management experts. From now on, we will refer to them as “review experts.”
What is a review expert?
Review experts are experts at manipulating online reviews, as their name implies. To achieve this, the review expert learned how to circumvent the restrictions imposed by companies such as Tripadvisor, Yelp, Google and Facebook. Consequently, the review expert can create several undetectable fake accounts that cannot be linked together, bypassing the complex algorithms that protect these companies.
Real review experts can provide realistic reviews guaranteed to persist over time, while most review sellers lack the expertise necessary to run a safe and sustainable service. For this reason, it is vital to be cautious and select the most trustworthy option when buying positive reviews. The wrong choice can result in hefty fines. In the worst cases, it can result in jail time.
But don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the following article: A man was sentenced to 9 months in prison. His crime? Posting fake reviews on TripAdvisor.
Where do I find a review expert?
The providers of these services often hide in the shadows of illegal online forums and private communities. However, these sellers are often the ones responsible for cases like the one linked above. Reputable companies will proudly display their transparent pricing and provide extensive information regarding their services.
Ormosis offers a wide range of review services aimed at building, preserve or restore your online reputation. Due to the way our reviews are created, all review websites perceive them as natural, non-incentivized reviews. Our Premium Reviews can withstand even the most thoughtful human inspection, making them a safe choice for your company.
While the algorithms used by Trustpilot, Yelp and other review websites are evolving, our methods are too. As Tommy Noonan once said: “Fake reviews are often indistinguishable from real ones after a close read”. Noonan founded ReviewMeta, a service that helps consumers find potentially fake Amazon reviews. Despite legal implications in countries like the U.S., the efforts exerted by these companies are always matched by review experts.
Those of you who still wonder if buying fake reviews is worth the risk haven’t read our other articles. Specifically, we suggest you read about the benefits of positive reviews. Finding the right provider is the only aspect you need to concern yourself with. There are great risks if you rely on freelancers and other part-time sellers.
Instead, if you rely on review experts, you will find that the immense benefits of online reviews outweigh the small risks involved with this service. You can find more information on this subject in our articles “What are fake reviews and where can I buy them?” and “Is there any risk involved when purchasing fake reviews?“.