For years, eBay forbid friends, family and employees of a seller from bidding on that seller’s items out of concern about “shill bidding,” i.e., that they would increase the price with no intention of buying. Then during the summer, eBay quietly changed that policy to make it more flexible. [More]
Since the dawn of online reviews, businesses have been attempting to game the system by flooding sites with bogus star ratings, fictitious reviews. And even though the major sites have enacted safeguards to prevent automated ways of rigging reviews, there’s little they can do to stop an actual human from logging on to boost a review in exchange for a few pennies.
Last week we showed you a few ways to spot fake online reviews and asked you to submit yours. We got some really great stuff! Here’s the tips and techniques savvy Consumerist readers use to ferret out the shills, sockpuppets and charlatans when cruising online reviews of products and services. Get yer learn on!
Over a year ago, we wrote about Lifestyle Lift and its attempts to astroturf a customer review website (while simultaneously suing that website for trademark infringement, naturally). But then they caught the attention of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, and now they’ve agreed to pay $300,000 and will stop publishing fake reviews online.
Lifestyle Lift claims it’s a “minor one-hour procedure with major results,” but a lot of customers who have paid for the procedure have been left unhappy, and they’ve consequently posted reviews about it on a plastic surgery review blog called RealSelf. Lifestyle Lift has sued RealSelf, claiming trademark infringement, and now RealSelf has countersued, claiming Lifestyle Lift padded RealSelf’s site with shill reviews.
Speaking of blurbs and quote-whores, Gelf Magazine has compiled a list of the most egregiously misrepresented blurbs cherry-picked from various reviews last year.