Fake Product Review Sites: New Type of Spam Exploit in Google

djbaxter

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Publishers Report a Spam Exploit in Google
by Roger Montti, SearchEngineJournal.com
October 31, 2019

A WebmasterWorld discussion brought to light a manipulative spam technique that was reported to be flourishing in Google. It involves competitors creating fake review sites to rank in Google. These review sites not only promote their own products, a publisher is reporting that the fake sites are also saying bad things and giving poor reviews.

The spam technique consists of creating fake product review sites created by the sellers of the products that are being reviewed. It was reported that some of the sites spread negative information about competitor products.

WebmasterWorld Member Selen stated:
“Several competitors have created “review” websites where they feature a dozen of their own sister sites from the same business niche. These sites have an order form that is processed by the same (their own) company. To make it look “legit,” they added a couple of real competitors to the “review list” (with lower “ratings” of course).
They wrote 100% fake reviews of their own services and attributed a scale from 1-10. Top 10 sites have “rating” between 9.1 and 10 (and they own all of them). The “ratings” are 100% fake and bogus.
Google happily shows domains and fake ratings in the answer box on a very competitive term (eg. best {service}). It’s been going on for years, but now their dishonest efforts pay even more.”
There are multiple reports in Google’s official Webmaster Help Forums, too.

For example there is one discussion titled, Fake Review Websites Are Created For Self Promotion, Stating Competitors As Scam, Hampering Business

This is what the publisher reported:
“Our competitor has created his self promoting 5 websites, mentioning every other strong competitor as SCAM, driving all traffic and sales to his websites & they deliver poor quality work, so all face failure. “

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