The UK based SEO company, Total SEO & Marketing Ltd, has been charged with violations to consumer law for posting more than 800 fake reviews online between 2014 and 2015. This is in violation of consumer protection laws in the UK, which are similar to laws and regulations in place in the US.
Fake reviews are a major problem for many consumers. The majority of people today look online to learn about products before making a purchase. One of the biggest places they look is for reviews that are written by real users of a product. Of course, marketers are well aware of the power that these reviews hold, and too often decide to write fake reviews in an attempt to sway users to make a purchase.
In addition, online reviews are a great way to boost a company’s website rankings in the search engines. This is because they are the exact type of thing Google wants to rank a site for, as long as they are actually legitimate reviews.
Total SEO & Marketing has co-operated with the law enforcement groups and have escaped any type of financial penalty. They have, however, been told that they must remove these fake reviews that were already posted. The law enforcement group will also be writing to its client base to let them know if this illegal marketing tactic.
Nisha Arora, the CMA Senior Director commented on the case saying, “With more than half of people in the UK using online reviews to help them choose what to buy, they are becoming an increasingly valuable source of information. Fake reviews can lead to people making the wrong decisions and fair-playing businesses losing out.”
She went on to say, “Search engine optimization companies, PR and marketing agencies provide a valuable service to businesses, but they must do this lawfully. Our enforcement action against Total SEO makes clear that posting fake reviews about clients is unacceptable.”