May 16, 2014 | Sarah Danks
Black hat is back. Or, still here. Whichever…it never ceases to amaze me that people engage in black hat tactics. Do they think they won’t get caught? The topic at hand is fake reviews. This isn’t a new black hat tactic, by any means; it’s just one we happened to run across first-hand the other day.
False Level of Credibility
People love reviews. When they’re researching a service or product, they want to trust someone else had a similar experience and found the perfect solution (be it a lawyer, Blu-ray player, dog breeder or search marketing company). So it stands to reason that since people love reviews, Google loves reviews.
It’s long been known that some companies will create fake reviews/testimonials to offset ACTUAL bad reviews (look at Renters’ Warehouse – of their 268 Google reviews, the majority of them are newly-made accounts with 5-star reviews of only one place: Renters’ Warehouse). So, with all the shadiness out there, how can you trust reviews?
Can you trust review sites?
Well, it’s REALLY hard to trust reviews when companies are now creating FAKE review sites. That’s right, we’ve run across a “review site” that SEEMS as if it was created for the sole purpose of weighing pros and cons of various PPC companies. The “customer” writing said reviews is allegedly a “financial-analyst-turned-IT-guy” who did a ton of research when trying to choose a company to manage his pay-per-click account. Oh, and since he was taking all that time to review different businesses, he decided to build an entire website about it. Here, take a look at this fake review site.
Read on and you’ll see all his research about several local companies, ending with the business he ultimately ended up choosing to run his search marketing…he even provides a case study of how successful his account was under the watchful eye of this PPC company that “won” his business (a company engaged in PPC black hat).
Turns out, it’s all a farce. The review site? Written by the PPC company itself. They’ve done their due diligence — they most likely DID call all the competitor companies listed on the fake review site…but the rest is a sham.
The best part about this is, in the first (fake) “review” this guy does of a PPC company (JumpFly), he states,
“Even though Jumpfly was a pleasure to talk with, and their rankings and ratings are off the charts, bottom line is they paid to get that top spot in topSEO and if they are willing to lie to people and say they are the best company, I’m sure they would have no problem lying to me about the progress of my campaigns.“
Hmm…Throw stones from your glass house much? Think we’re making this up, and we’ve got it all wrong? The proof’s in the pudding — or, in this case, the research. We did OUR due diligence and dug a little bit. Turns out both ppccompanyguide.com and grow-with.resultsdrivenppc.com were registered by the same email address:
How did we find this guy’s fake review site in the first place? Take a look-see on The Google at “ppc management company” results*. That’s where our “reviewer” (AKA the shady PPC company) has his fake review site (AKA the black-hat tactic review site):
*Of course I started this post several days ago; just finishing it today. As of right now, we can no longer find this specific PPC ad…they must not be bidding anymore. Although the site is still up — so they’re still black-hatting. Long story short: make sure to do your research before you believe just any old review site out there.
AND: Shame on you, “Results Driven Marketing.” Fie, for shame!