Real-Life Examples of How Fake Reviews Harm Your Business

Aino ValtonenAino Valtonen
Last edited: June 10th, 2024

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I’m sure everyone already knows that fake reviews can harm your business and reputation. Yet buying fake reviews seems to become more and more popular.

Why is that? And why should you not follow suit with the businesses who try to hack the system?

Let’s find out.

Why And How Do People Buy Fake Reviews?

The internet is full of fake review brokers that charge thousands of dollars for fabricating a good rating on Google, Yelp, BBB, and other platforms.

Maybe the people doing it are chasing short-term benefits, like increased SEO results and online visibility.

After all, it’s proven that reviews can increase your Google ranking, give you more exposure in the search engines, and also result in a better click-through rate.

Reviews also encourage purchase decisions and instill trust, so it’s a no-brainer that businesses should aim to get reviews.

Great businesses don’t have to resort to buying reviews, as happy customers are willing to give them when asked.

So, some reasons why a business might want to acquire fake reviews are:

  • The company is a scam altogether.
  • The customers are generally not happy with the experience and do not leave positive reviews even when asked.
  • Someone might have a preconception that getting reviews is hard, which it is not true with the right tools.

However, fake reviews can be super harmful in the long run.

Businesses that are too afraid of negative feedback to collect real customer reviews are missing the crucial point about honest customer feedback: it’s the road to success.

What do they expect to happen when customers have certain expectations based on reviews, and in reality, the company is not able to live up to those expectations? A bad reputation spreads fast.

In the worst-case scenario, fake reviews can even result in legal action.

Fake Reviews Are Criminal

Here’s a recent example where a New York doctor received a penalty of $100,000 for manipulating his customer reviews.

It’s not the first time someone has faced legal repercussions for fake reviews.

Last summer, Google filed a lawsuit against a Los Angeles man who was fabricating thousands of fake reviews on fake business listings on Google Maps.

Even Amazon is at war with several companies selling fake reviews and posting them on Amazon’s marketplace.

These are just some of the recent examples.

How Does One Get Caught Using Fake Reviews?

E-commerce platforms and review platforms monitor the reviews people post and recognize forged reviews with the help of algorithms and user reports.

Some individual people and organizations fight against fake reviews. One example is Kay Dean, a former criminal investigator who now dedicates her time to exposing businesses that use fake reviews on her YouTube channel Fake Review Watch.

Additionally, there are even software products that can help with spotting fake reviews, such as ReviewMeta and Fakespot. They utilize AI in the process.

As a consumer, you can also keep an eye on and report fake reviews.

Some telling signs of fake reviews on different platforms are e.g.

  • having reviews from new and incomplete profiles,
  • getting a suspicious amount of reviews during a short period of time,
  • getting reviews from profiles that have unnatural review patterns. For example, if a profile gives reviews for local businesses all around the world, it’s unlikely that they have actually visited those businesses.

Get Authentic Reviews Instead

Personally, I don’t see why anyone would pay thousands of dollars to get a few fake reviews and potentially risk high penalties and loss of reputation.

Especially when an alternative exists: collecting real reviews from your actual customers automatically. And just with a fraction of the price.

When you implement an automatic review campaign as part of the customer journey, you get fresh reviews continuously and naturally.

Trustmary’s review collection flow enables you to get reviews and even direct people to a relevant third-party review source.

Even the negative or “bad” reviews that you might naturally get have an important role in your reputation. By addressing them and using the feedback to improve your business, you are on the road to success!

The best part: Trustmary is a tool to do all this.

You can even get more Amazon reviews, more Google reviews, you name it!

Check out Trustmary’s review and feedback tool:

Aino Valtonen
Aino Valtonen
Aino Valtonen is a Growth Marketer at Trustmary. With a background in Linguistics, she is an expert in language and communication, as well as local SEO and review marketing.


Trustmary is the most effective way to convert more sales by improving digital trust.