FUNNY, FRAUDULENT ONLINE REVIEWS: A REPUTATION KILLER

Online review sites are designed to allow consumers to write about the products theyve purchased, raving about their good parts while steering people away from wasting money on products that have no good parts at all. For some comedy writers, review sites serve a deeper purpose. By taking a public shot at a company with a pithy little review, they have an opportunity to claim comedic fame. Its something more and more people are choosing to try.

Quirky and silly product reviews arent new. In fact, as long as people have been allowed to write reviews, its likely that someone has taken the opportunity to write something just a wee bit silly in order to pass the time. Its the only way to explain reviews like this one on Amazon regarding a banana slicer: Description clearly states Great for cereal. However, my experience subjecting cereal to the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer left me with nothing more than a milk-sodden shirt and bitter remorse. This reviewer left one star with this review, possibly for comedic effect.

Now, many websites are compiling collections of amusing reviews, and theyre printing these reviews on their own sites. Funny or Die, for example, published a list of 11 reviews with the introductory paragraph that indicates that the writers are geniuses. BuzzFeed compiled a list of 13 reviews of what they called mundane objects, all of which had zany reviews written expressly for comedic effect. Even the Telegraph got into the act, publishing 10 sets of reviews that were, … hijacked and taken in bizarre directions by playful web users.

But just how playful are these people? Theyre writing what might seem to be silly and harmless little paragraphs about these products, and people reading them might quickly know that the writer is having a laugh. However, many of these silly reviews come with very low scores, and thats no laughing matter at all.

Review sites like Amazon compile the points that come with the reviews, and they give the product or the vendor an overall score based on that point level. The score is prominently placed right by the companys name or the products name, in most cases, and users often have to scroll down to read the comments. If these silly writers are giving low scores as part of their amusing writing, they could be damaging the companies they review in deep and profound ways, reducing their scores and making the company or the products seem worthless or just invaluable. Few companies would find this funny.

Most review sites specifically prohibit people from writing reviews of products they haven’t specifically used or companies they havent actually worked with. These rules are designed to keep companies from hiring a team of writers to create positive reviews, but people who have been targeted by negative reviews can take advantage of the loophole and fight back. In fact, weve helped clients to take down multiple reviews from people theyve never seen but who wanted to write reviews in order to be funny. Our team of legal experts makes this work easy and quick, and our clients love the work we do. Please visit www.internetreputation.com to find out more, and to get started on your own reputation management journey.

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