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Crime The Internet

Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
First time accepted submitter unjedai writes "A company is putting horrible reviews of small business online, and then offering to improve the company's reputation and take the reviews off for a fraction of the cost that a real reputation improvement company would charge. Sierra West received a call from a 'reputation improvement company' telling them they had a negative review online and that the company would take the review offline if Sierra West paid $500. 'Of course when someone is offering $500 the day (the bad review) goes up seemed not legitimate.'"
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Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews

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  • by FirephoxRising (2033058) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:39AM (#41546809)
    People and businesses value their online reputations, so these protection rackets were always going to come.
    • Couldn't the company just forward the mail proposing the "deal" to the review site's admin, who will (hopefully) quickly catch on, especially if more than one business has similar complaints!
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        well, yeah.

        but you could also forward such a mail even if the bad review was legitimate.

        • In the case where the business is making this up, the review site would get a single such complaint.

          In the other case, the review sites would get loads of such complaint, all containing mails with similar wording, from multiple businesses...

          • by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:33AM (#41547033)

            The big problem with cyber crime is the lack of long-term storage of complaints. I got a scam email from Spain, claiming to be from a friend stranded in Madrid without a passport. I sent it on to the Guardia Civil. They sent me back a bunch of guidelines on not being scammed online.

            Now, I didn't expect my single little failed fraud attempt to merit individual investigation. I had hoped that they would put it on file, and use it as supporting evidence for conspiracy in a larger case later on, but no-one tracks these things.

            A group I frequent on Facebook was getting spammed for weeks by the same person advertising loans (in USD, in a group about a Scottish pub meetup). Every day, they'd get reported, and the message deleted. But even Facebook didn't seem to bother to track the individual complaints and spot the pattern.

            So yes, review sites should be able to spot the pattern, but they won't. Because that costs money, and the internet is for cheapskates.

            • by crossmr (957846)

              Facebook's abuse department is a joke. They have a policy against people using personal pages for business, in the last 8 months I've reported dozens of these.. 8 months later, not a single one has been deleted and all continue to spam various regional groups.

              They have absolutely zero credibility when it comes to this kind of thing.

            • There used to be abuse@fbi.gov - but that's been ignored for almost a decade now.

            • by cawpin (875453) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:01AM (#41547927)

              Now, I didn't expect my single little failed fraud attempt to merit individual investigation. I had hoped that they would put it on file, and use it as supporting evidence for conspiracy in a larger case later on, but no-one tracks these things.

              Oh, but they do. I did a similar thing, regarding about a scam letter, physical mail, I received several years ago. I got the normal "Thanks for reporting" response and thought nothing of it, as you did. About 6 months later I get an email from the US Federal Crime Victim Notification Service telling me that an investigation had been opened into the company I reported.

              I've been getting regular updates through this system for about 3 years now up to and including verdict & sentencing. There were 6 or 8 people who were charged, a couple plead guilty to lesser charges, one was found guilty of some fairly serious charges and the ring leader was found guilty of many counts of fraud and related charges and sentenced to, if I remember correctly, 17 years in federal prison.

              I was completely surprised by it because, like you, I had never seen anything come of the various things I have reported over the years. But, apparently, they do pay attention if they get enough complaints.

              • Also amazing that they did you the pleasure on keeping you updated on the fate of the criminals. Usually, even if they do react to your complaint, they wouldn't let you know that they did (protecting the accused's privacy while he is not yet convicted?).
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Yes but as we have seen here its usually pretty easy to spot the difference between pissed off consumers and astroturf and shilling. If a company is providing shitty service? Well there will be plenty of people bitching, nothing in the world folks love more than to bitch, but if its just one or two and they have very similar language and tone and feel? Yeah probably written by the same guy or from a script.

          As a small town retailer I know all about how a bad rep can bury you, but if you were to find every si

      • by asdf7890 (1518587)
        You are banking on:

        1. The site bothering to monitor its email with any regularity. Until they see your report, the fake review is still up where potential customers can see it.
        2. The site taking your complaint at face value - you could be a genuinely bad business trying to silence genuine complaints by maknig shit up yourself. Until you can convince them of your case, the fake review may still be up where potential customers can see it. Conversly, if you made a genuine bad review it could go the other way
      • by CdBee (742846) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:42AM (#41547077)
      • RTFS: "Sierra West received a call from"

      • You could also forward the mail to the FBI, local law enforcement, and Help Me Howard at channel 7.

        If your business is being harmed by the negative review, $500 is actually a good deal compared to waiting for any of those agencies to actually finish their coffee and get back to you.

        I think the best way to sting them is in the payment process, pay with bad checks or on another tack, highly traceable instruments and pass the info along to law enforcement.

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          I think the best way to sting them is in the payment process, pay with bad checks or on another tack, highly traceable instruments and pass the info along to law enforcement.

          Soo you're saying the best way to handle this is to commit a crime yourself, then gather up all the evidence and provide it to law enforcement?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:40AM (#41546815)

    Seems like a fairly textbook case of libel.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:04AM (#41546917)

      It's not merely libel, it's fraud, possibly extortion, and of course, ridiculously stupid.

      One day, shortly after moving into an apartment complex, this guy I've never met knocks on my door and tells me my van has a flat tire, and that, oh, BTW, he works at a nearby tire repair place, and would be happy to fix it for me, all I have to do is bring it to the shop...

      Oddly enough, I had driven it the day before, and the tire was fine when I left it. I happened to have an air-pump, so I inflated it, and it seemed to hold air, it hadn't been stabbed or anything, (happily) but someone let the air out, and this guy I'd never met just happened to know that the van was associated with the resident of my apartment... and he just happened to work at a place that fixes tires... anyway, I guess he was fucking retarded, or thought I was. Needless to say, I wouldn't have dreamed of taking the tire to this guy or his shop, because this ploy was really fucking obvious.

      Similarly, this ploy is pathetic, and it's shocking anyone could be dumb enough to think that it would work. Sad.

      • It's not merely libel, it's fraud, possibly extortion, and of course, ridiculously stupid.

        And, if you're seeking relief through the courts, good luck with the jurisdiction issues, response time, and general lack of connection to reality that is the justice system.

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          there is another time-honored way of dealing with thugs. it's a small country in this age of jet travel, pay the fuckers a visit and make them an offer they can't refuse. pain and maiming a thug will understand

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:47AM (#41546835)

    This post was removed due to Dice content standards violations.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sg_oneill (159032)

      This post was removed due to Dice content standards violations.

      What the heck? Has this been happening for real?

      • by C0R1D4N (970153)
        Its not real, if they are removing posts it is being done quietly. On that note been a while since I saw that Golden Girls crap.
      • by Fjandr (66656)

        Started here:

        http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3126413&cid=41374821 [slashdot.org]

        The first one is near the end of the above comment section.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423)

        I'm pretty sure its not real. /. has only removed a few posts and those had to do with court orders if I remember right. I think it had something to do with the MPEG dvd encryption code.

        • by viking099 (70446)

          The only one I know of had to do with someone publishing the text of a Scientology exam manual. The CoS threatened to sue if it wasnt' removed, and they removed it, then posted a story about it, explaining what happened and why it was removed.

        • by Type44Q (1233630)

          I think it had something to do with the MPEG dvd encryption code.

          In other news, the Pharaoh's vizier has informed us that henceforth all cats shall be rounded up and placed back in their respective containers... ;)

        • So, which one was it then? Was it one of these that you can find on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]?

          The Register gives the 1401-digit number as:[3][4]. It has the form kÂ2562 + 2083.
          4 85650 78965 73978 29309 84189 46942 86137 70744 20873 51357 92401 96520 73668 69851 34010 47237 44696 87974 39926 11751 09737 77701 02744 75280 49058 83138 40375 49709 98790 96539 55227 01171 21570 25974 66699 32402 26834 59661 96060 34851 74249 77358 46851 88556 74570 25712 54749 99648 21941 84655 71008 41190 86259 71694 79707 99152 00486 670

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        According to posters at Neowin yep [neowin.net] and a Google search shows several posts at sites owned by them with the same text so I'm thinking...yeah we might ought to be looking for another geek site to hang our hats as the last thing the world needs is another EnGadget or Gawker where only corporate approved postings are allowed. If they could do something about Thom and his biases OSNews is pretty geeky but not up to /. standards, but if the Dice crap becomes SOP here I'll have no choice but move on, not dealing w

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CdBee (742846)
      If this is for real I think its time we all went and found a new place to post our views and engage in general geekery. I'll stand for a lot from slashdot but this was ALWAYS the place that stood up for the right to post, even against the Scientologists. Dice, if this is for real, I'm gone.
  • by asdf7890 (1518587) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:49AM (#41546853)
    I'm pretty sure I heared about this sort of thing happening many years ago, at least as far back in early years of this centurary. No one should be surprised that it is happening: it is basically a traditional protection racket like scheme. When-ever there is something of value to "protect" they will spring up sooner or later.

    In fact I'm sure I read (probably here) about a case where someone traced the protection demand to a person in the same state and ended up in court for taking the law into his own hands (finding the perp and beating him to within in inch of his life, having first failed to get local law enforcement to do anything because they didn't understand what the crime actually was).
  • Trip Advisor? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zemran (3101) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:50AM (#41546859) Homepage Journal

    If you use Trip Advisor you will find that most of the reviews are generic as they are written by professionals. Good reviews are paid for and while the hotel etc. is at it they pay for negative reviews to be written about all their competitors. This is not something new.

    I know of one guest house here that had a bad report on trip advisor about staff stealing from the guests before the guest house had even received any guests. They had just opened and had not done any business at all and there first review was fake.

    • by shilly (142940)

      I really doubt that "most reviews on TripAdvisor are generic". I've read reviews of maybe 30 places across three countries in the past year, and I've read a lot of shitty reviews but none has appeared to be even remotely generic / "professional". How about posting links to say 5 different reviews that you think are generic, so you can show what you say is true? Ought to be quick and easy to do if most reviews are generic.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      That's why I like the reviews on geek sites like NewEgg and even Amazon, its pretty easy to spot the actual owners and users and weed out the shills. Hell on my reviews on Amazon I've even had several nice back and forth conversations where someone will ask about this feature or that, or want to know what i thought of something like the TDP of a chip or how well it performed some task and I was happy to answer and even run benches or tests, whereas the shills are just gushing and glossing over any problems

  • Aha! (Score:4, Funny)

    by dimeglio (456244) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:52AM (#41546871)

    That might explain all the negative comments we see about Microsoft.

  • Best Countermeasures (Score:5, Interesting)

    by some old guy (674482) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:57AM (#41546885)

    1. Register your business withe the Better Business Bureau, the Jaycees, Consumer Reports, and Dun & Bradstreet. Prominently link to your ratings. People will take the aforementioned organization's word before some troll's on a crappy "review" site.

    2. Report all such solicitations to your local prosecutor as an extortion attempt.

    3. Order the crap sites like White Pages, Yellow Pages, etc. to un-list your business and state why (they suck).

    4. Have a cold beer and relax.

    • by Ravadill (589248)
      The problem with step 1 is that the average person no longer trusts a major sites opinion any more than a crappy review site. If the result shows in Google's first page a lot of people will take this as meaning it is legitimate, and generally even one or two negative reviews can make people start to ignore the 100's of positive ones. That is what a lot of these review farming sites seem to rely on, and most seem to manage to be in the top 5 search results for a lot of products, usually by linking or copyin
      • That's why I suggest linking direct to the reputable sites on one's own web site, and proactively de-listing the junk like Yelp and Tripadvisor. No listing, no google hit.

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          That's why I suggest linking direct to the reputable sites on one's own web site, and proactively de-listing the junk like Yelp and Tripadvisor. No listing, no google hit.

          I always recommending creating your own fake review site and just linking to that...

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      ... Dun & Bradstreet ..

      Who are well known for high pressure sales techniques trying to get you to buy "reports" fro them.

      • They pedal reports because that's their business, in case you didn't know. Altruism doesn't enter into it. Everyone, including yourself, is out to sell something. It's a matter of reputation, accuracy, and reliability. To the best of my knowledge, neither Jeebus nor Mother Teresa run business reporting sites.

        • by OzPeter (195038)

          They pedal reports because that's their business

          Sure they peddle reports as part of their business. But there is a difference between advertising that you can buy reports from them, and them cold-calling you and trying to pressure you into buying a report. It is not the report that is scummy (although I have no idea if you actually get you monies worth) but the methodology used to sell it to you. Just google "Dun and Bradstreet scam" and see what you get

          • by vux984 (928602)

            Sure they peddle reports as part of their business. But there is a difference between advertising that you can buy reports from them, and them cold-calling you and trying to pressure you into buying a report.

            Cold-calling is hardly an unusual business practice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You do realize that the BBB is a protection racket too, don't you? People who pay the BBB can make their complaints go away. People who don't will have a page @ the BBB's website prominently featuring complaint after complaint.

    • by Khyber (864651)

      "Register your business withe the Better Business Bureau"

      Hahahahahahahaha NO. That's just a bullshit scam organization like every other one. They tried to threaten me into joining them when I had a cleaning business in Memphis.

      Go away, BBB shill.

    • by tompaulco (629533) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @03:38PM (#41552325) Homepage Journal
      the Better Business Bureau
      If I see that a site has purposely and prominently advertised affiliation with the BBB, that usually leads me to suspect that they have something to hide. You almost NEVER see BBB links on most of the big name sites, like Amazon, Google, etc. I was about to put NewEgg, but they DO have a BBB link. But, I can almost guarantee that you will see a BBB link on every single "Only Available on TV" product. Why? Because they are cheap junk that is not worth the money, but they BBB link might make a few more people buy their cheap junk.
  • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @05:58AM (#41546891)

    When it comes to payment, a sure sign that it is a scam is when the business demands that you pay by wiring the money. If you wire money, it is not traceable or refundable, and it vanishes into the anonymous thief's pocket. So, always use credit cards or Pay-Pal, or something that offers protection. Only wire money if you absolutely, positively know the person to whom you are sending it.

    Huh? Is that really how wire transfers are perceived in the United States?

    In most of the civilized world, you can reverse a wire transfer if it turns out to be fraudulent (and if the fraudster hasn't withdrawn the money by then). And if he has the money withdrawn, you (or the police) now have at least his identity... Banks have an obligation to be positively sure about their customer's real-world identity before they open an account for them (the "know your customer" rule), as part of the regulations against money laundering.

    There is a reason why most phishers use unwitting intermediaries ("money mules"): bank transfers are not anonymous for the receiver, and the receiver will be found out.

    With Pay-Pal, on the other hand, you are at the whim of a company who isn't accountable to any banking rules (because it is not a bank), and who doesn't hesitate to confiscate or freeze account's contents if they believe you associated with somebody who associated with somebody who they believe defrauded them.

    • by ledow (319597) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:06AM (#41546929) Homepage

      PayPal is a bank, in some countries (i.e. the EU), and regulated by appropriate financial services watchdogs. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be allowed to trade in those countries for very long as it would be nothing but an unregulated money laundering outfit.

      That said, wire transfers are traceable, but that doesn't mean you get your money back. Credit cards, etc. have automatic, legally-backed payout when you mark a transaction as fraud, even if the fraudster has already withdrawn that money.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        PayPal is a bank, in some countries (i.e. the EU), and regulated by appropriate financial services watchdogs. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be allowed to trade in those countries for very long as it would be nothing but an unregulated money laundering outfit.

        That said, wire transfers are traceable, but that doesn't mean you get your money back. Credit cards, etc. have automatic, legally-backed payout when you mark a transaction as fraud, even if the fraudster has already withdrawn that money.

        True, However to get the "Lowest common denominator" regulation in Europe they moved from the UK to Luxembourg.

    • by danb35 (112739) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:11AM (#41546951) Homepage

      I suspect the poster you're replying to is actually talking about the money transfer services like Western Union, not true bank wire transfers. Wire transfers have to go into a bank account, and the ownership of that bank account is known (by the receiving bank, at least, if not by the sender). They're not used very often in the U.S., though, because they tend to be expensive--$25 to send, and $15 to receive, seem to be common fees, though they can vary.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:47AM (#41547107) Homepage Journal

        They're not used very often in the U.S., though, because they tend to be expensive--$25 to send, and $15 to receive, seem to be common fees, though they can vary.

        I just paid $35 for receiving a wire transfer to my BOFA account. The bank's web page says they charge $16 for incoming wire transfers from abroad, and it really should be $0, because it was sent as a SWIFT transfer in USD, marked with "sending bank pays all charges".
        Why the extra? There's apparently a "telex fee", even though no telex was in use.
        Oh, and I don't even get a copy of the SWIFT with the payment details.

        Thank goodness the money was sent in USD, because the rates that US banks give their customers on exchange are ridiculous.

        Here in USA, we have the most antiquated bank system in the world; worse, even, than the UK one.
        Heck, people here still use cheques, for cripes sake. And the cards banks issue can't be used in large parts of Europe, because they still rely on a magnetic strip, not a chip.
        And we have the most clueless bankers too. They don't even understand terms like giro and loro.

        But to compensate, it's seriously overpriced.

        • by cbope (130292)

          You're lucky the US bank even knew what SWIFT was. A couple years ago I needed to transfer funds to my mom in the US. She lives in a small town but uses one of the major US banks. It took me over a week of emails and multiple calls to the bank to get the necessary information to make the transfer from a major European bank.

          I make regular transfers to the US and it still amazes me that it takes ~8-10 calendar days for the funds of an ELECTRONIC transfer to show in the receiving account. The sending and recei

          • by DarkOx (621550)

            Because the US system is geared toward the EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) practice. EFT works really well between pretty much any US Financial entity, fast and usually free. Unless it is great deal of money or being deposited someone place like a brokerage, most institutions will make the funds immediate available, if you have any kind of existing relationship with them. Otherwise anything taking longer than 4 days to settle is pretty unusual.

          • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @08:39AM (#41547723) Homepage Journal

            You're lucky the US bank even knew what SWIFT was. A couple years ago I needed to transfer funds to my mom in the US. She lives in a small town but uses one of the major US banks. It took me over a week of emails and multiple calls to the bank to get the necessary information to make the transfer from a major European bank.

            Hints for the next time:
            Get your mother's account number and wire transfer routing number. The latter is usually not the same as the regular routing number.
            Get the SWIFT address of your mother's bank's head office, unless they have a SWIFT address for transfers in USD.
            When sending the money, insist on sending in USD, nostro your mother's banks head office, with both the routing number and account number specified.
            Do not choose to pay the recipient's charges, because US banks will not honour that and will charge the recipient full charges regardless of whether they also get the mutually agreed-upon transfer fee from your bank. That's just free money for them.

            IME, the transfer will only take minutes if done this way. Of course, the bank will likely sit on it until the next day before "clearing" it, despite it already being cleared by SWIFT. US banks are the worst float crooks in the world.

            If sending in your own currency and without a routing number, even if through SWIFT, expect 3-4 days, and even more if they cut a cheque (no, I'm not kidding, alas).

            • by arth1 (260657)

              Get the SWIFT address of your mother's bank's head office, unless they have a SWIFT address for transfers in USD.

              And, by the way, your bank is more likely to know this than US bank clerks are.

            • by whoever57 (658626)

              Get your mother's account number and wire transfer routing number. The latter is usually not the same as the regular routing number.

              No, don't just get the account number. In my experience, the number that you need to use has the account number within it, but has extra digits. You need to know what these extra digits are. Probably your bank's website will provide the information.

              Get the SWIFT address of your mother's bank's head office, unless they have a SWIFT address for transfers in USD.

              Don't. US banks

        • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @09:45AM (#41548391) Journal
          OK, I'll bite.

          Worse than the UK one?

          If I want to send anyone money in the UK here's what I do:

          1. Login to my bank's website

          2a. If I've sent money to this person before: type in their sort code, account number and value.

          2b. If I've not sent money to this person before: two factor authorisation, type in their sort code, account number and value.

          3. Click the Go button

          This is called BACS and is instant for the vast majority of transactions and basically free. We also have the faster but more expensive CHAPS.

          Of course, give me an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and I can send money to anyone anywhere.

          We freely give out bank account numbers too. There's not a lot you can do with them except pay money in.
    • I wasn't really sure exactly what a "wire transfer" was -- to me, as a UK citizen, a bank-account-to-bank-account transfer is called a "bank transfer". I always assumed "wire transfer" was just Western Union and the like, but a quick look on wikipedia [wikipedia.org] tells me that they're both accepted under the umbrella of "wire transfer". I'll stick to "bank transfer" personally for a bank-to-bank action.
  • by hairyfish (1653411) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:00AM (#41546901)
    I gave up on these sites years ago as soon as it became apparent they were all unreliable. Reviews are either gamed or posted by someone with completely different standards to me so carried no value. Just go check reviews of hotels you've been and compare with your own experience. None of them have any consistency.
    • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:02AM (#41547159)
      This is why I appreciate sites like imdb.com [imdb.com] (films reviews), where you have to provide your cell phone number to which IMDB sends a SMS containing a code that you use to activate your reviewer and rater status.
      • What does that prove, other than you have to be this rich to edit our site?
        If you are a scammer you have enough money to buy a cell phone.

        • What does that prove?

          That proves nothing. But... Everything is probabilities and statistics. If - say - 10% of users are scammers, those 10% create each - say - 9 accounts (based on 9 different email addresses) => 50% "honest" users vs 50% scammers. Now, provided that almost any adult in English speaking countries has a cell phone, and thus is able to vote, the system is less biased as scammers would have to get a lot of cell phones to cheat ... that would be an expensive scam.

          • Oh, I am sure there are easy ways to get around this for one whose profession it is. There are cheap cell phones and virtual over internet lines. There is probably some online service you could pay a tiny amount to get a bunch of numbers and change the numbers all the time (just like there are services to get cheap throwaway email addresses).

            This is like using DRM, the professional scammers will have no problem at all, but this would inconvenience and potentially stop the average joe.

    • Sounds like there is an opportunity for a company that an be the "Google Search" or "Amazon" of reviews. A company that works out a way to have high quality reviews without shills, frauds and idiots. And which is trusted to not boost or hide reviews based on protection racket ("advertising") money. (Ahem, Yelp.)

      And the trick will be how to make money from it whilst remaining impartial. Any attempt to make money from the reviewed businesses will be looked on as being corrupt. Some businesses have made it wor

      • So there's an opportunity to create an difficult-to-start and unlikely-to-fund business, which would subsequently entail deailing with complaints about bad reviews every day? Sign me up!

  • Travel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:00AM (#41546903) Homepage

    So there are honestly people out there who read reviews from people who may not have even bought the product and consider them true?

    Personally, if I were TripAdvisor, Amazon, or whatever equivalent, it would be a requirement to have actually purchased the goods you're reviewing before being allowed to post a review.

    One of the websites I use for hotels does just that - unless you've booked the hotel through them and stayed there you can't post a review. I don't think a reputation-destroying service would be a viable business model (even excluding legal complications) if you had to pay your competitors in order to post a bad review on them.

    And, I pay no attention to the reviews. I pay attention to the responses, if any. If a site lists your hotel (presumably WITH your permission, or you'd ask for it to be removed) and you get a bad response, you should reply to it. Like on eBay, or in real life shops, it's not what the negative comments say, it's how you deal with those complaints that matters.

    Nobody runs a hotel that has never received a complaint in its entire history. But there are lots of places that receive complaints and ignore them because they just don't care.

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      Reputable companies are starting to do that. Both Newegg and Amazon now tag reviews with whether the person writing it actually bought the product. It's a nice feature, except to date there is no check box that says "Don't Show Unverified Reviews" that I've seen. It's easy to skip over the trolls, but it'd be even nicer if I didn't even have to see them.

      • Apple started doing it on the App Store after the first couple of months. If you haven't bought the app, you aren't allowed to review it. The quality of the reviews immediately improved.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      But if they only accepted reviews from ones that bought from them they'd frankly be giving up a lot of good honest reviews...well like mine actually. i buy CPUs and components from Amazon, NewEgg, TigerDirect, and a couple of little chip shops like StarMicro and once i've put a chip through its paces i tend to post a review to all of the above, why? Well because I don't buy many of the highest end chips and those and the bottom of the line chips are the only ones the review sites ever seem to test so I've f

      • by Urza9814 (883915)

        If it's a purchase where I'm bothering to read the reviews, I'm definitely going to be comparing prices. And if I'm already going to all those sites to check prices why wouldn't i check the reviews on each too? And while doing that i expect and even rely on those reviews being from different people, because the sites have different markets. If i see a few reviews on amazon claiming two products are incompatible, then see some on newegg indicating they aren't, I'm a lot more likely to ignore the reviews clai

  • by telchine (719345) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:05AM (#41546919)

    I went to Slashdot and the service was terrible. They treated me badly and I think they cloned my credit card.

    Right, anyone know CmdrTaco's number?

  • This is nothing more than a protection racket [wikipedia.org]. When the book gets slammed on them it's going to slam hard - assuming there's a judge out there with enough Internet competence to pull it off.

  • I wonder if any of their staff are FBI. Just reminds me, you know, of certain strategies. I'm not implying anything though. I solemnly swear it.
    - Yertle
  • by cvtan (752695) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:37AM (#41547065)
    Hello. This is Rachael from Cardholder Associates. There is currently no problem with your credit account, but...
  • Not new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CdBee (742846) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:40AM (#41547069)
    It';s been proven that both Yelp and TripAdvisor will phone businesses moments after bad reviews are posted and offer to have them hidden for a large sum of money - Yelp in particular strongly denied this then were caught at it again a few weeks later
  • 'be a shame if someone gave it a bad review.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

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