Outing a Fake Review Ring AND Review Puzzle for Local Pros

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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14,437
OK so all you pros know about the review mess and the excessively strict review spam filters that seem to be blocking so many legit honest reviews.

But one thing I've noticed is I very seldom these days see the fake review rings I used to see all the time. You know - the ones where it was obvious they were fake because they were reviewing a window cleaner in LA, a plumber in GA and 5 Dentists all over the US? Then you would click on another reviewer for one of the businesses and see they had ALSO reviewed many of the same businesses?

There was an obvious pattern to those rep management or fake review services and I always wondered why the algo did not nip them in the bud. They were so easy to spot.

Again have not seen that type of review spam lately, so I assume that's one of the problems the tighter filters are attempting to thwart. BUT I just spotted a case of blatant review spam getting through.

My objective here is twofold. 1) Out the bad players. 2) But also to see if we can maybe figure out a pattern to how these obviously fake reviews are slipping past the filters that would help us help our honest clients get more honest reviews through.

I was reviewing a problem at the Google forum and the part in red TRIPPED MY review spam filter.

Our company is being harassed and spammed on our online reviews. Real customer reviews not coming up and the fake reviews come down and come right back up again

Our company which has been in business for 25 years is being harassed, spammed, bullied and trolled online for the last 10 months... I have had to cancel our Google Maps page and trying to cancel all together my Google places. This is suspicious activity and don't understand why her reviews keep coming up yet my real customers try to post on your site to offset this troll and none of them their reviews are coming up at all.
The part in red tripped MY review spam filter because it sounded like this may be someone that was trying TOO hard to offset the nasty review to try to bury it.

So I went to investigate and yep - very nasty review from Kit K. Leung.
Japanese Car Care Google+ Page

However as I suspected there are also some FAKE reviews attempting to help "offset" the nasty one. Reviewers are reviewing companies all over US and all those reviewers are reviewing many of the same companies. So it's a rep management or paid reviews ring.

So I ask you, how can these obviously fake reviews can get through when legit reviews are blocked?

Here are links to the fake reviewer profiles with lists of all their other interrelated fake reviews where I found more reviewers from the same ring.
https://plus.google.com/local/*/s/by:109387155503840375134?hl=en
https://plus.google.com/local/*/s/by:111670006414760129694?hl=en

More dug up just by following the trail...
https://plus.google.com/local/*/s/by:110950146699653861166?hl=en
https://plus.google.com/local/*/s/by:115468048485870913793?hl=en
https://plus.google.com/local/*/s/by:104373981818636336882
https://plus.google.com/local/*/s/by:107637946417564058427

I don't really have time to dig deep and investigate. If I had time to play detective I might even contact these guys and pretend I'm interested in having them do a review, try to find out who they work for and try to find out how specifically they place their reviews. Sadly, there is no detective time available on my plate.

BUT I think someone like Joy may be interested in digging in to see how these reviews are bypassing the filters???
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,437
Just taking another quick peak and def see a pattern of a NEGATIVE review followed by these fake reviews which are all rated excellent.

So I bet it's one of those companies that preys on businesses with a really bad review and promises to bury it.

By the way some of the advice I've seen at the G forum is suggesting "Excellent" reviews may not be getting through and suggesting to have customers edit the review and downgrade it to see if it gets through. Well these are ALL EXCELLENT so how are they getting through?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,437
Wow, talk about incentivizing reviews. What makes businesses even think this is possibly OK?
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
329
Just taking another quick peak and def see a pattern of a NEGATIVE review followed by these fake reviews which are all rated excellent.

So I bet it's one of those companies that preys on businesses with a really bad review and promises to bury it.

By the way some of the advice I've seen at the G forum is suggesting "Excellent" reviews may not be getting through and suggesting to have customers edit the review and downgrade it to see if it gets through. Well these are ALL EXCELLENT so how are they getting through?
The excellent reviews are probably getting through because they actually took the time to write a paragraph. It is fishy if someone rates a business as Excellent but doesn't actually say why they're "the best."

That ring you found is quite sneaky. Too bad Phillip is likely plagiarized his G+L review for Lake Minnetonka Cruises:
I've received nothing but positive feedback - The boat was perfect for sitting in the sun or not, and allowed us to gather in one place and relax! Plus, The service was great - one of the frequent comments I've heard was that people were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the fact that the staff came and took orders and served us. We had a great time and thank you !!!

From the Lake Minnetonka Cruises official website:
I've received nothing but positive feedback - The boat was perfect for sitting in the sun or not, and allowed us to gather in one place and relax! Plus, The service was great - one of the frequent comments I've heard was that people were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the fact that the staff came and took orders and served us. We had a great time and thank you !!!
Jane E. - Target Center

Something look familiar?:rolleyes: I doubt the profiles are legit, they all seem to keep one another in their Circles but no one else seems to have them in their circles. Odd... :p I reported a good lot of them, not sure where they track back to, but I am sure Google does.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,437
Thanks Andrew, I alerted Google to this thread too so assume the spam team will track them down.
 

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