How Does a Business Deal with Fake Reviews?

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
Hi Fellow Digital Marketers!!

I was wondering if anyone had a solution for dealing with fake negative reviews.

It's been exhausting the last two weeks and our overall great star ratings dropping and if we have any more fake reviews, more drops.

We have so many marketing daily things to deal with, does anyone have a solution for growing businesses?

We're an immigration law firm in downtown Toronto & Vancouver. See our current # of reviews and total rating:
4.8 stars, 172 in Toronto: Screenshot
4.7 stars, 173 in Vancouver: Screenshot

What can we do about reviews that:
  1. Don't use real names or just first names in Google Account for leaving negative reviews - we can't verify if in fact a past client, so suspect that they are fake.
  2. When you click on their profile, they only have 1 negative review - ours, so no history of reviews.
  3. When you click on their profile, they have multiple negative reviews in different provinces and states!! Traveling paid reviewers too lazy to set up individual Google Accounts?
The past two weeks we've been hit by 6 one-star fake review and 1 one-star real client review that we believe created the rest.

All with the same language and all with same times. 2 on Sat.Aug31st, 1 on Sun.Sept1st, 3 on Wed.Aug4th and 1 on Mon.Aug9th - 7 total.

I've tweeted to GMB and retweeted from 2 other accounts with no replies last Thurs and retweets last night.

Our owners of the firm has been trying to resolve with unhappy client, there was a perception challenge the legal services. Now 2 negative reviews have disappeared, 1 from this real client and 1 fake, 6 remain.

My boss copy and pasted a message saying that this review is fake since we don't see any variation of their names in our client files, etc
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
3,294
Hey Dat, when you say you tweeted GMB, did you send them a DM with a document outlining the suspicious reviews?

GMB won't take action on reviews on the premise that the user doesn't use a real name. Google is fine with that.

But you might have a shot art having Google take action on a sudden influx of negative reviews if you can convince them it is a review attack. The important part is documenting everything out and making it super clear why this is a review attack. Do that and DM GMB on twitter.
 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
102
I have taken a looked at both listings and the reviews. I noticed that for 6 of the negative reviews posted for the Toronto location, the business responded claiming that they are fake. It does not look good to potential customers to see a business state multiple reviews are fake. Google allows users to use aliases which makes it difficult to verify the identity of the user. Google alerts each user when a business replies to a review. Those replies could do more harm than good by adding more fuel to the fire. Remember the point of replying to review is to deescalate and work out the issue.

For the Toronto location. I can't prove that the reviews are fake. I am not seeing any of the typical red flags that I see when seeing fake reviews. I don't see any way that Google will remove the reviews via flagging them or by contacting support.

You will need to contact a law firm to get Google to provide you with the account information for the reviewers.
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
Hey Dat, when you say you tweeted GMB, did you send them a DM with a document outlining the suspicious reviews?

GMB won't take action on reviews on the premise that the user doesn't use a real name. Google is fine with that.

But you might have a shot art having Google take action on a sudden influx of negative reviews if you can convince them it is a review attack. The important part is documenting everything out and making it super clear why this is a review attack. Do that and DM GMB on twitter.
Thank you! I didn't DM GMB, but will do this.
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
I have taken a looked at both listings and the reviews. I noticed that for 6 of the negative reviews posted for the Toronto location, the business responded claiming that they are fake. It does not look good to potential customers to see a business state multiple reviews are fake. Google allows users to use aliases which makes it difficult to verify the identity of the user. Google alerts each user when a business replies to a review. Those replies could do more harm than good by adding more fuel to the fire. Remember the point of replying to review is to deescalate and work out the issue.

For the Toronto location. I can't prove that the reviews are fake. I am not seeing any of the typical red flags that I see when seeing fake reviews. I don't see any way that Google will remove the reviews via flagging them or by contacting support.

You will need to contact a law firm to get Google to provide you with the account information for the reviewers.

You're right. Posting our message may be seen poorly by other reviewers.

We think they are fake because it happened with this one real client. All 7 use the same language and 3 on that monday at same time, 3 on the weekend before and one this past mon.

The challenge is if we don't have the real client name, then we can't verify with files and then reach out to make it right.

When people use "Real Review" or random names with no review history, we see them as fake as our team follow up with all clients. It's very frustrating.
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
You're right. Posting our message may be seen poorly by other reviewers.

We think they are fake because it happened with this one real client. All 7 use the same language and 3 on that monday at same time, 3 on the weekend before and one this past mon.

The challenge is if we don't have the real client name, then we can't verify with files and then reach out to make it right.

When people use "Real Review" or random names with no review history, we see them as fake as our team follow up with all clients. It's very frustrating.
@keyserholiday
What are the typical red signs if these aren't??

Not using real name yet smearing the business, so no way to make it right since we don't know who it is and can't find out if we had anything negative on their case.

Review profiles wth zero review history, so how do we know if a past client or a real person and not some company?

Review profiles with negative reviews in multiple provinces and states, it's really suspicious no??

I just can't believe that you can be allowed to hurt a business and remain anonymous. And all this to lend to Google's platform as helpful to consumers.
 
Last edited:

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
102
I honestly don't know. I looked into suing somebody was quoted $250 an hour and was told it would be between 5 to 10K. I recommend that Localseodat, check out Zemel van Kampen LLP. I've heard good things about them.
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
Thank you Everyone for your advice!! It all helped!! Thank you @JoyHawkins for your replies in email even though you didn't have to!!!

Thank you @Colan Nielsen for advice to DM GMB!! I didn't even think about it after tweeting them and then retweeting them, all with zero reply.

Thank you @keyserholiday for pointing out the negativity and possible spiral of my 1st replies to the suspicious replies!


We're back to 4.9 Stars for our Toronto location (YEAH!!! Screenshot ) and all 6 negative 1-Star fake reviews are gone after sending GMB a DM in Twitter with a link to a Google Doc detailing the events. They didn't reply but I sent 5pm yesterday and gone by 8:45m!!

I also added a 2nd version of a reply to each of the suspicious reviews, so not sure if they removed after getting pinged or if GMB did it after my DM in Twitter.


And the 7th negative review, the real upset client, has been talking with owners of immigration law firm for a few days and he removed his review. It was a perspective thing, so resolved and he's not angry anymore. He also sent us a screenshot of his removal, since...

There was a glitch on his review even though he removed. It was showing up this morning and I noticed yesterday that it was showing above all recent reviews and it was two weeks ago even though recent reviews were in order of newest to oldest.

Here's the Google Doc if it can help anyone:

Here are my separate replies (2nd draft without slamming them):
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
I honestly don't know. I looked into suing somebody was quoted $250 an hour and was told it would be between 5 to 10K. I recommend that Localseodat, check out Zemel van Kampen LLP. I've heard good things about them.
Thank you for sharing!! No need it was solved at the expense of wasted focus and multiple hours total over a few weeks. Which is annoying but fine. It is what it is. We have to deal with it.

Suing someone even fake reviewer attackers that destroy our good online reputation that affects incoming lead prospects that visit our two high review points for 100s of reviews. I don't even want to know how many prospects we must have lost with those 7 reviews for two weeks.

What is ridiculous is a system that Google uses to create credibility for them but harms businesses:
  • That easily allows ANYONE regardless if they have been a client of the biz that are giving a negative review on
  • That easily allows ANYONE regardless if they use a real name or profile pic that can be verified that they are in fact a past client, let alone an UNHAPPY one. You can just have a gmail!
  • That makes it difficult to remove suspicious reviews
  • That makes it difficult to remove negative reviews where we're already in process talking to the unhappy client making things right

We're not even talking about how TOUGH it is to get clients that already got what they want and paid for to care enough to even leave a helpful review.
Those that do, so many just leave a star rating with no words about their specific situation.
 

IMP

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2019
Messages
8
We've ran into the same issue multiple times where the client has an actual name left on the review and it was never their client and in one case an attorney who represented the spouse the ex left a bad review on his firm and was never his client. We haven't ever been able to get any of these removed.
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
We've ran into the same issue multiple times where the client has an actual name left on the review and it was never their client and in one case an attorney who represented the spouse the ex left a bad review on his firm and was never his client. We haven't ever been able to get any of these removed.
I feel your pain. These fake reviews are unethical and hurt businesses. I made the above 2 Google Docs viewable to anyone. See if you can use any of the info for your clients. The only way to beat terrible behaviours is when more good people share ways to combat them. We don't have time to deal w/ this BS but are forced to react. All the best to you!!
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
Hi @JoyHawkins and @Colan Nielsen , hope you both enjoyed your weekends!

I thought it was all over that two weeks of stress with the first 7 one-stars removed, but...

We just got two more fake 1-star reviews. One on Fri and one on Sun. This is so stressful!

Fri.Sep13, 2019

Sun.Sep15, 2019

That's 9 total in 3 wks with only one being real and we've resolved that with the client.

What do we do? Who knows how many by end of this week.

Any insight on how to deal with this would be helpful.

Cheers, Dat
 

LocalSEODat

Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
19
This attack is still going on. So Stressful!!

6 Negative 1-Stars this week!

4 This morning. 2 Reviewers posted at the same time on both our Vancouver and Toronto GMBs.

@JoyHawkins @Colan Nielsen have you seen businesses get attacked like this before?? This is 13 within 3wks and it's only Tues!! So frustrating.

I'm documenting it all and resubmitting to Google DM in Twitter at the end of this week.
 

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