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Controlling a Ratings/Reviews website

how to combat fraudulent posts

     

jo1ene

8:58 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am considering a consumer-based ratings website for a particular industry that currently has no such thing. Comapnies will sign up for a "merchant" account and be granted ONE profile which they can edit and maintain. Users can register for a "consumer" account and post reviews/ratings to the profiles. All accounts would be authenticated. Merchant accounts would be admin approved. The 2 classes of users will have different privileges. The concern I have, is how to prevent:

1) users posting to their own profile (usually positive)
2) users posting to their competitors' profiles (usually negative)

Does anyone have any experince with this?

I can disallow ratings for "merchant" users, but that doesn't stop them from opening a dummy "consumer" account. I would have enough records (I think) to identify fraud if I was alerted to it, as I probably would in case #2 above, but who would alert me in case #1.

I think I have a pretty good handle on general spam prevention.

I plan on hiring moderators.

Any other advice is also welcome.

oneguy

3:46 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



1) users posting to their own profile (usually positive)
2) users posting to their competitors' profiles (usually negative)

Can you grow the user base big enough to turn those into background noise? In the meantime, it will just be content for you.

Also, I would suggest not charging anything to start. You can allow mechants to respond to any negative issues in public. (more content) Enact revenue model later.

Does anyone have any experince with this?

Not me. I've spent some time with some parallels, and have thought about this some, though.

jo1ene

2:51 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks for getting back on this.

I was going to forstall the revenue until the ball really got rolling. Maybe throw in some G ads to defray costs.

Merchants would have rebuttals, BTW. More content is good.

I guess having a successful site will cover a multitude of sins, but I was wondering if anyone has any specific experience.

rogerd

6:58 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



One way to control spammy posts by boosters/detractors is to implement some kind of reputation control by which members would rate other members and/or their posts. Those members with a strong reputation would be more credible, and a would-be spammer would have to devote a lot of effort to building a reputation in order to effectively trash a competitor.

Something like Amazon's "did you find this review helpful?" input could be good, too, although a clever person could write a highly detailed and believable review to accomplish the goal of trashing a competitor or boosting his own product. Still, it takes more effort to do that than build 5 IDs and make posts like "tried it, it sucked, returned it to store."

maximillianos

8:03 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I've run a similar site for 8 years now. I have a pretty good handle on controlling such content. It took lots of custom programs to monitor the posts, comments, review IP address, etc... to stay informed of what is going on.

But that only catches 50%. The other half is caught from both good mods and power users...

Some will always slip through the cracks... but stopping it from happening in mass is the key... You don't want to lose credibility...

Good luck!

 

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