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How To Remove Fake False Reviews From Google Search Engines

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:32 PM

How To Remove Fake False Reviews From Google Search Engines - By Robert Bond

If you are an online business, then you may be aware of the growing trend of competitors trying to harm your business with fake, and false reviews on Google and other search engines.

I have myself actually spoken to both Microsoft (Bing), and Google (Adwords) regarding this issue, and both representatives of the respective companies told me they were surprised that it happens.

Surprised, really, about fake and false reviews?

I doubt it. This is now a growing problem. You have probably heard about the issue Tripadvisor had with the ASA in the UK regarding the acceptance of fake, and false reviews, which forced them to alter the wording of their advertising. The problem they had were hotels and restaurants leaving bad reviews for each other, trying to damage each others business. Well, the problem is more widespread than most people realise.

How widespread is this false review situation.

MASSIVE. Think about it. The internet is not policed in any form, and therefore people who wish to leave false reviews about a competitor business does not have a single obstacle in their way. Let's say you were an online design company, and you had some large competition. It would be VERY easy to literally saturate the search engines with negative reviews about all your competitors, and not only that, but  what these competitors are doing, is creating the false reviews in such a way that way that they can even make a profit out of your misery.

How can competitors make a profit from false reviews?

Very easy. You see, apart from forums, and 'review websites', what some competitors are doing, is creating masses on what are known as 'micro websites', blogs, cms systems, that they will inundate with negative reviews about a company, and on the same blog/cms system, the competitor will have their OWN adverts on there.

What this does, is that when your potential customer searches for your service, or your website name, and goes to Google to put the search in, Google are offering them a dropdown menu, which usually contain 'scam', 'reviews', 'reviews', 'complaints', etc. etc. A below:

Posted Image

Therefore, Google is dictating to searchers would they 'may' want to click on, and of course a large percentage of these searches will take Google's word for it, and click what is suggested. BUT, Companies who wish to damage your reputation also know this!. So, of your website/company name is: safeforcedesign.com, your competitor will make sure they create microsites, blogs, reviews, all containing your website in the title, and tags, etc. etc, and with a little SEO, it is VERY easy to get such websites onto the first page of Google, and other search engines.

This really happens?

You bet. Not only that, but the way a profit is made, is that by potential customers searching for your product, or service, and by landing on your competitor's micro-site, then they see negatives about you, and POSITIVES about them, which in turn leads to the potential customer clicking on your competitor's website, therefore stealing a customer from you, as your competitor will have created a load of lies about how 'bad your service is', etc. etc.

Ok, so how can you remove the negative, and false reviews?

That is a good question, and in most cases you CANNOT. The reason being, that all different countries have different laws, rules and regulations regarding what is deemed as libelous content. You only have to look at ripoffreport.com, and how they have been operating for years outside of any laws that can catch up with them.

Even in the EU, review websites, and forums are hiding behind directives quoting the following:

The E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC we are only obligated to remove a review from our website if its contents are obviously in violation of the law. Art. 15 of the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC clarifies that there is no general obligation of a service provider to monitor third parties’ content in advance.

So, what can I do? It is not a copyright issue, so a DMCA takedown does not come into the equation.

You have a problem. And it is a problem that the any governing body of the internet HAS to come up with a solution for. It is a real, big problem, when you can literally destroy a competitor's business, in just a few days, and there is not a law in the land to stop them.

You could create some positive reviews about your business, to try and counteract the false negatives, but that is seriously time-consuming, but could be your only option. It really depends on how much business you are losing, and the effect the false negatives reviews are having on your business. This solution is also costly, very costly, not just in a financial sense, but monetary terms, and this is the reason that something needs to be done about it.

Will anything get done about it, and stop the false reviews?

I personally cannot see how that could be policed, because as mentioned above, you also have the jurisdiction issue, so the whole internet would need to come together to stop such issues, and how feasible that is, is very  much open to question.

Your advice?

honestly? My advice would be, that if you own a business or a website, is to start your positive SEO NOW, and literally place as many positive comments about your business out there as humanly possible, especially if you value your business, or it is your website that puts food on the table. Your absolutely need to be pro-active, and not reactive. Take the upper hand. If you already have negatives about your business out there, that you want removing, then you had better hope that Google, and other search engines create a standard that protect the very customers who they rely on for their search engines.

But...don't hold your breath....

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