Several SEO companies have agreed to stop publishing fake online reviews, and will also pay penalties ranging from $2,500 to almost $100,000 as part of settlement announced today with the New York attorney general’s office.
The AG’s year-long investigation ultimately caught 19 companies involved in writing and posting fake online reviews, including numerous small businesses. But the investigation began when the AG’s office posed as a yogurt shop and contacted SEO companies asking for help in fighting negative reviews.
The investigation revealed that SEO companies were using advanced IP spoofing techniques to hide their identities, as well as setting up hundreds of bogus online profiles on consumer review websites to post the reviews.
It’s an all-too common practice, but one that lawmakers and others are increasingly targeting via lawsuits and other methods that they hope will put a dent in the fake review industry.
For more, see my article on Marketing Land, NY Attorney General Settles With 19 Companies In Fake Review Crackdown.