- Internet & the Web
Internet Marketing Tricks - Phony Fake Negative Reviews
Is It A Scam? Find Out Here - Not!
The Internet has made human beings no more or less sneaky and shifty than they were before. What is has done is expose those among us who are less than forthright to a wider audience. It has also given those with a predilection to being a bit of a trickster access to those with more experience as well as a way to view other sneaky maneuvers that may have not occurred to them before. Add it all up, and the Internet is full of scams, tricks, sneaky ploys, and outright fraud.
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One of the latest Internet tricks is the false negative review website which attempts to undermine another of the Internet's abilities, allowing those who are not so jaded, to see the tricksters coming, and avoid their usual ploys.
Phony Reviews - Is It A Scam? Your Review Is
The ingenuity of scoundrels never ceases to amaze me. Yet, sometimes, when I come across a new ploy I'm a little bit amazed, first at the fact that anyone tries it, and second at the fact that anyone falls for it.
While pretty much everyone is aware that many of the so-called reviews out there are either completely fake, or paid for by the company being reviewed, there is another tricky kind of review out there that is rapidly growing in use.
This little bit of trickery involves creating a webpage, or a whole website in some cases, that boldly asks the question, Is It A Scam? Ironically, the scam is actually the review itself.
It works like this. Say there is a new product called XYZ SEO ABCs for sale to people who are serious about the inside secrets of SEO pros that the search engine optimization industry, and of course, Google, don't want you to know about. All you have to do is buy this product and millions of search engine users will beat a path to your door generating millions of dollars in revenue and #1 rankings for any keyword or keyphrase you desire.
Naturally, you are skeptical. So, you type the product name into Google and get back a bunch of search engine results. Unfortunately, one place that Google fails miserably is in ranking information about products and, more importantly, separating that information from webpages that offer to sell the product.
Unbiased Review - Scam o' Rama
With no reliable information to be found, you do what many Internet users do, you search for reviews about the product, surely that will provide you the insight you need into whether or not this hot new service is money well spent, or just the latest thing to not be worth the money.
Again, thanks to the proliferation of fake reviews, and phony testimonials (often accompanied by an affiliate link to the product being reviewed) most searches for reviews are likewise mostly worthless.
In a last ditch effort to find out if this is a scam, you try what seems like a good idea and you search for the product name and add the word scam. Surely, this will help.
Here is where it gets really funny. Knowing that people will be suspicious of any online service, especially those that offer great things that you can't see until AFTER you have paid for it, opportunists will setup a webpage, or even a whole website, that impersonates a real review. They'll title their review Is Whatever A Scam and the optimize around this keyword so that they will be at the top of the search results whenever someone searches for product scam
But, the webpage is not a real review of any kind. In fact, the page isn't about the product being a scam at all. Instead, you silly searcher, the answer to that question about if it is a scam is a resounding NO! In fact, it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I love it so much I want to marry it.
Oh, and by the way, here is an affiliate link so that you can go buy this amazing product right now!
If you see this kind of webpage click the Back button immidately to return to the search results page. This signals Google that their current rankings for the search phrase suck. Enough of those and they'll take a look. Just for good measure, click the little X on the results page to eliminate it from your results. Again, this doesn't do anything overall, but it is the strongest signal you can send as a user that a particular result sucks.
Don't wonder for even one second if maybe it is legit. It isn't. These fake "negative" reviews serve two purposes, one is to block the actual negative reviews (if you see a whole page of these kind of fake reviews, click the next button a few times to find the real ones), and the other is to make some money by tricking suckers into thinking, well if this guy was skeptical but he found it is great, then it must be good. If they do their job well enough, you'll click that affiliate link and they'll make some cash. You, on the other hand, will be buying something without having read that real review you were looking for.
And, don't think for a minute that new FTC rules about Bloggers disclosure are going to fix this issue. Legitimate bloggers building up a name and reputation for themselves might care about FTC regulations, but small time swindlers know that they aren't worth the government's time and won't be around long enough to get caught anyway.
Example of Search Results
(I have never used Secret Affiliate Weapon. I am neither endorsing or criticizing the product. I am only pointing out the shifty nature of these so-called reviews. No opinion of the product is expressed or implied. Search results have been deliberately redacted. Perform your own searches if you want to see un-edited results.)