Because marketers’ credibility keeps going lower and lower.
Now a PR firm has agreed to settle charges it had its employees pretend to be unbiased videogame buyers and post gushing, rave reviews at Apple’s online iTunes store.
When I read that, I felt like the French police inspector who was “shocked, shocked!” to discover gambling at Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca.
The same thing is happening elsewhere, of course, including Amazon and other high-profile online merchants.
My suggestion: take all reviews with a degree of skepticism. Look for more than a handful of reviews, Be especially wary if all of them were all posted within a few days or weeks of each other. You want to see 50+ reviews, spaced over the course of many months.
Two habits that will help clean up deceptive online marketing:
- To keep the practice of phony reviews from spreading, simply never do business with a company that would engage in such underhanded practices.
- Ditto for spam: Never do business with a company that sends out unsolicited spam. Period.
Zero tolerance. If we all followed those two simple rules, both practices would simply fade away.
Agree? Disagree? Maybe you’ve got an even better idea? Let’s hear it.