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Crime The Internet

Shakedowns To Fix Negative Online Reviews 179

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

  • by CdBee ( 742846 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:43AM (#41547087)
    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 Tukz ( 664339 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:47AM (#41547103) Journal

    Hmm, it looks legit.

    A quick Google search on /., found several of these messages.

    Would like an "official" word on this.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @06:53AM (#41547121)

    Because if a spammer wanted to make dice look bad, clearly they would only post one such message... Wait... no.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:20AM (#41547215)


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:28AM (#41547239)

    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 sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @07:55AM (#41547343) Journal

    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.

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