At VendAsta, we believe that gaming the system to get a better online reputation is a bad idea. To begin with, it has two major disadvantages:
1. When you’re caught with your proverbial pants down, the backlash could be worse than not having reviews at all.
When people don’t know you exist, you could at least hope that they would find you through ethical reputation management. But imagine that they know you exist and that you’re dishonest. Who wants that?
2. When it does work in the short term, it only ‘poisons the well’.
When customers get duped by fake reviews and then realize that the product is not good, they stop trusting the system altogether.
Reviews on mobile app stores are already less trustworthy than you’d want. Most recently, Blackberry’s new BBM was apparently receiving a ton of fake reviews.
Hanlon’s razor. pic.twitter.com/4WbniMkZIV
— Matt Baxter-Reynolds (@mbrit) October 23, 2013
There’s no proof about Blackberry engaging in astroturfing, but Google’s first page has already embraced the story:
In another incident, Samsung got fined NT$10 million for astroturfing by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission.
For Samsung, that amount is like a drop in the bucket, but at least it is a start. What do you think? Should companies who get caught buying fake reviews get larger fines, or is the erosion of consumer trust a high-enough penalty?