Jail Time for Fake Trip Advisor Reviews….

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Jail Time for Fake Trip Advisor Reviews….

As I was scrolling through Linkedin an article appeared that read, “Man jailed for writing fake Trip Advisor reviews”. This quickly got my attention and I proceeded to read the article. It turns out this unnamed man had been selling fake positive reviews to over 1,000 businesses. By writing as the article describes as “glowing” reviews of the businesses, their online ratings, which were seen by millions, were improved. This man was placed in jail for 9 months AND had to pay a $10,000 fine. Additionally, the businesses you bought the reviews were fined.

This article really got me thinking about digital marketing and how nowadays consumers have so much power online. The first thing that customers look at in many instances is the reviews of a business because it is all so accessible! One person can really help or hurt a business’ reputation…And how interesting is it that governments are putting people in JAIL for people trying to do so (albeit illegally).  Do you think jail time is an appropriate punishment for fake reviews?



Emma Grace Harrell

Emma Grace Harrell

September 17, 2018at 4:03 pm

This post initially caught my attention and was extremely interesting to me because I have questioned before the authenticity of reviews such as those found on Trip Advisor, Yelp, Amazon and more websites. My mom loves to travel and often reads and write reviews of her own on Trip Advisor, so I am very familiar with the platform and often use it myself when researching hotels or even restaurants in an area. Sometimes, when a hotel or restaurant has such an overwhelming number of seemingly perfect reviews, I’ve wondered if its too good to be true and perhaps employees are simply going on and writing the glowing reviews themselves. However, I never really considered that an ordinary person would make a career off of writing these reviews and selling them to companies. Although the job is morally incorrect, selling shining reviews to business’ isn’t necessarily a horrible idea and for this person, could have been extremely profitable had they not been caught. I personally feel as though, while the reviewer is certainly at fault, I don’t know that I believe they should necessarily be facing jail time and receiving the brunt of the punishment when it is really the companies buying these fake reviews who are hurting the system. If they weren’t purchasing this man’s services, he certainly wouldn’t be writing fake reviews just for the heck of it. This also makes me hope for more secure background checks of reviews that could probably be completed by a computer to check for authenticity. As a consumer on these sites, I really look for genuine, helpful reviews and would hate to be duped by a scam such as this.

Morgan Allen

Morgan Allen

September 17, 2018at 7:21 pm

This is such an interesting article. I can’t believe that someone is actually getting jailed for this action. It really is true though, online reviews are one of the first things that people look at to determine a decision. By creating fake reviews and falsely inflating ratings would really effect a lot of people. I personally believe while this offense is horrible and can really hurt or help a business I do not think that this offense deserves jail time. I believe a fine is deserved but nine months of jail is a bit extreme to me.

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