Posts Tagged: Online Reviews

New York AG Gives No Stars To Fake Online Reviews

On November 2, 2018, the New York Attorney General came crashing down on a number of moving services that paid for at least 60 fake positive online reviews posted under the heading “CHECK OUT OUR REVIEWS POSTED BY CUSTOMERS JUST LIKE YOU.”  As a result, the only checking being done will be from the businesses’ bank account when they shell out over $65,000 in penalties and costs.

Fake online reviews have always been the bane of legitimate shoppers.  What’s the first thing you do when you find a snow blower online?  You read the reviews.  How’s about a restaurant?  You read the reviews.  In fact, statistics show that a whopping 88% of shoppers incorporate online reviews into their purchase decisions, and being the lazy consumers that we are, the number one factor is the star rating.  While we think we can weed through the fake and the for real, the bottom line is who the heck knows if Caroline L. from New York, NY really liked her bicycle?  We don’t.  A Harvard Business School/BU report from a few years back states that 20% of all online reviews on Yelp! were fake.  Yikes! (more…)

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Take That Down: Recent Lawsuit on Negative Reviews

“Beer: The cause and solution to all of life’s problems.”

Mr. Homer J. Simpson would love the recent case of a Massachusetts craft beer company that has been trying in federal court to get the employment website Glassdoor to turn the taps off and take down negative reviews about the company.  Craft Beer Stellar filed an amended complaint in the District of Massachusetts, which is now subject to a motion to dismiss filed on May 11.  The claims, defenses and legal issues raised are exactly what you would expect in a fight over negative online reviews.

For a refresher, we have previously addressed the issue of negative online reviews here and here. (more…)

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No Room at the Inn (For Bad Reviews)

It’s story time here at youwmightbeawinner.  Young Aaron from Portland, Maine writes, “Mr. Blogger, what do you have to say about the tale of the Innkeeper who had no room for guests writing bad reviews?”  My child I’d say that this Innkeeper was living in Christmas Past where harsh penalties for harsh reviews were common.  Listen here to the lessons that can be learned, when a store, brand or company is online spurned. (more…)

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Will The Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 Affect Contests and Sweepstakes? (Hint: Yes)

On December 14, 2016, the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 was passed to try to put an end to companies taking down nasty reviews about their products.

Congress’s way of telling companies: if you ask for it, you’re gonna get it.

The new law – effective March 14, 2017 – generally prohibits companies from imposing upon users a restriction for posting negative written, oral or pictorial reviews or similar performance assessments about the company’s goods or services.  The new law also prohibits mandating people to transfer their rights to their reviews or feedback to the company (a nonexclusive license is ok).

Could this new law have a dramatic and lasting impact on contests and sweepstakes as we know it?  I don’t think we’re quite at Chicken Little stage, but the reach of this new law could have a serious effect on contests and sweepstakes that seek reviews or feedback on a sponsor’s product.  That’s because the new law applies when the restrictions are contained in “form contracts,” defined as contracts with standardized terms that the other person doesn’t have any meaningful opportunity to negotiation.  Sounds like Official Rules.

“Tell us in 3 words or less how much fun you had on your last Sponsor To The Stars vacation” or “Post your favorite Sponsor Sandwich for a chance to win even more Sponsor sandwiches.” or “Tweet the 50 things you love about Sponsor Soap to #SponsorSoapSweeps.”  All potentially affected. (more…)

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Is It Really “The Best [Insert Product] You Ever Bought?” Amazon Limits Incentivized Reviews

When shopping online, we all want to know what lawnmower/backscratcher/egg timer is the best. Once we’ve found an array of options, many of us go right to the online reviews to see how others liked the product. Caveat emptor be damned, Ralph from Bensonhurst just loved the Handy Housewife Helper, so I want one too. Little did we know that Ralph and his partner Ed were trying to unload 2,000 of these gadgets to the unsuspecting public.

To help bolster the legitimacy of online reviews, yesterday (October 3, 2016) Amazon announced an Update on Consumer Reviews explaining that it has updated its community guidelines to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program. (more…)

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