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Competitor setting up fake review sites

     
9:46 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi all; need some advice on what I can do (if anything)...

In my industry, I am one of ~5 'serious' service providers. One of my main competitors has set up a couple of websites acting as 'review sites' for my industry. Funnily enough, they always rate their site as number 1 (surprise surprise). What bugs me is that not only are they fake, they are starting to saturate the SERPS and are 'tricking' people into thinking they have reviewed services, when they haven't.

In some ways, I shouldn't moan, as they rate my company within the top 3; however, I know, without doubt, the man setting these up is a 'Business Development Manager' for my competitor.

Is there anything I can do?
11:44 pm on Apr 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Is there anything I can do?

yes ..as long as search engines, and their visitors fall for "this" ..do the same as he is doing..but better :)
1:11 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Honest question: do you feel that what the competitor has done is unethical?

If so, are you willing to do what they have done, but better, as Leosghost suggested?

If you're thinking "I wish I'd thought of that / done that first", you have to acknowledge that your competitor is playing the game better than you. SEO is a vicious sport, the rules aren't stated in advance, and the only referee is a mysterious algorithm and a judge named Cutts.

Shilling, Sock Puppetry, & Deliberate omission of bias is a common tactic in marketing, it's how people get ahead in advertising. If a company does it blatantly and gets called out in the media, it can be a PR embarrassment (because it IS unethical). But consider how many lobbyist groups and certification organizations only exist to say "so-and-so independent research org says that product X is healthy", not divulging that 100% of the operating budget of so-and-so is sponsored by Company X.

see what I mean?
1:27 pm on Apr 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member andy_langton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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In the UK, fake reviews would be investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency, who would take action against them, as they have done with previous reports against TripAdvisor, for instance. See [webmasterworld.com...]