Online reviews impact your business.

91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews
source:  BrightLocal 2016 Survey

Good or bad, it’s no secret that what people are saying about your business online can have a direct affect on your reputation and bottom line.

So much so that some businesses have taken to writing their own online reviews.

And guess what happens when you get caught doing that by the FTC?

Link to full article: These car dealerships found out the hard way.

Key points:

The FTC alleged that at least 13 five-star Facebook reviews for one of the dealerships — Kia of Downtown — were posted by the company or its agents.

Kia of Downtown also allegedly populated its own site with reviews that weren’t genuine. One of those reviews, allegedly written by an employee, praised the dealership as “truly exceptional.”

After another dealership — West Covina Nissan — got bad reviews on Yelp, the dealership’s Internet manager, his wife and another manager allegedly posted five-star reviews to the site.

The dealerships in this article are settling with the FTC for a reported $3.6 million dollars (there were other extenuating circumstances too so this amount was not just for the fake review infractions). However, it is clear that this behavior is prohibited and expensive — not to mention embarrassing and damaging to a business’ reputation.

This serves as a reminder that ALL of your online reviews, and testimonials, that are published online should be 100% legitimate or you are putting your business at risk. 

 

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