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Dealers flooding review sites with fake user reviews

ddavis

Sr. Refresher
Jun 28, 2011
1,493
491
113
First Name
Doug
To me it looks like they saw that their first four reviews were one star, and wanted to find a way to cancel them out. They took these from comment cards or solicited surveys from their service department, and the dealership employees went and entered them in Cars.com. But it seems pretty clear that something is not totally "transparent" there.
I don't think that employees are allowed to enter surveys even if they have backup documentation. I may be totally wrong on this. I have often requested customers to give us positive reviews and have been successful. Getting 14 in a single day is far beyond my success rate.

Looking at reviews, in general, I noticed that if you google the phrase "All of the staff were very friendly and professional" it seems that this seems to apply most frequently to hotel and medical businesses. "not the typical pushy car salesman" seems to come up in a lot of reviews.
 
Sep 25, 2012
11
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Matt
So starting last year we did contests to boost google reviews. We would randomly draw a name from all the reviews submitted each quarter and give away 2 iPads to clients. We started with a couple of bad service reviews from years ago and got our review count to a 4.2 star google review over a 9 month period. We had over 140 reviews and one day we walked in to find that overnight every single good review was gone and we were left with 15 0-1 star bad reviews. Still have no idea how this happened or why but all of our hard work was gone overnight. We have since started to push the review process again to get back to that point but it baffles me how that happened? Was it a hack job? Anyone else ever have this?
 

ryan.leslie

Sr. Refresher
Apr 20, 2009
577
494
93
First Name
Ryan
So starting last year we did contests to boost google reviews. We would randomly draw a name from all the reviews submitted each quarter and give away 2 iPads to clients. We started with a couple of bad service reviews from years ago and got our review count to a 4.2 star google review over a 9 month period. We had over 140 reviews and one day we walked in to find that overnight every single good review was gone and we were left with 15 0-1 star bad reviews. Still have no idea how this happened or why but all of our hard work was gone overnight. We have since started to push the review process again to get back to that point but it baffles me how that happened? Was it a hack job? Anyone else ever have this?
Matt,

Welcome to the forum!

Here is a link to a great thread here on Refresh on this topic that will give you a lot of information on what happened and why:
http://forum.dealerrefresh.com/f43/google-reviews-disappeared-whats-deal-2803.html

I'd be happy to talk to you about all this offline too if you'd like. Please feel free to PM or just give me a call.

Ryan
 
Jun 25, 2010
14
5
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First Name
Katie
I used to work with a dealer who had HORRIBLE reviews. Now this was not a horrible dealership but they were a bit old school with their practices. Against my advice they hired a "reputation management" company that said they would communicate with their customer base and put a review "process" in place to grow their reviews. Within weeks of hiring this "reputation management" company this dealer had 20-30 new review and guess what? They were all stellar reviews. I started researching these "reviews" and quickly saw that these same people reviewing the dealership also had wonderful things to say about dealerships all over the country! This is called fraud folks! When a company promotes that they will gain reviews from a dealer's customer base and then create fake reviews it is a fraudulent practice. I no longer work with this dealer but when I just took a look I did notice that ALL of those fraudulent reviews are now gone. The dealer went from having a couple hundred reviews and now are down to 33. (Mostly negative)

Unfortunately this is an all too common practice. I hope dealers safeguard themselves by avoiding these types of services. As a few of you already said, if you as a dealership provide a great experience and ask for the reviews you will get them.
 
Reactions: 2 people

ddavis

Sr. Refresher
Jun 28, 2011
1,493
491
113
First Name
Doug
they were a bit old school with their practices.


When I saw that, it made me think, "she has a nice personality". The reason dealerships opt for fake reviews is to look good without actually being good.

Maybe I put more value in people, than I should, but why would someone go out of their way to say something negative about a business, if it isn't true?

I don't know who told me this, maybe Ryan, but it isn't a good idea to have reviews where the IP address can be tracked to India or Nigeria.


 
Last edited:
Reactions: 1 person
Jun 25, 2010
14
5
1
First Name
Katie


When I saw that, it made me think, "she has a nice personality". The reason dealerships opt for fake reviews is to look good without actually being good.

Maybe I put more value in people, than I should, but why would someone go out of their way to say something negative about a business, if it isn't true?

I don't know who told me this, maybe Ryan, but it isn't a good idea to have reviews where the IP address can be tracked to India or Nigeria.


All true!!
 

ryan.leslie

Sr. Refresher
Apr 20, 2009
577
494
93
First Name
Ryan
I don't know who told me this, maybe Ryan, but it isn't a good idea to have reviews where the IP address can be tracked to India or Nigeria.
I don't remember that exactly, but it sure sounds like something I'd say ;)

PS. I apologize to the community for breaking my word. I'd forgotten that I promised not to post in this thread anymore back in Nov of 2011. My post today was not intended to revive this thread. I was just trying to help Matt find the existing post on Google's Aug. Algorithm change and keep that conversation in that thread.
 

MayhemMarketing

Getting Refreshed
Jan 13, 2013
32
1
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First Name
Mayhem
Sara, I doubt that anyone is going to post it on a website. Most of the time you just need to look at the number of positive reviews. There is a local dealer with over 200 five star reviews in the past six months. They have over 60 on citysearch. They have to have that many to average it out to a positive. If you actually read the reviews, they all sound the same. On BBB they have a F rating.



Yes, there actually is a way on Yelp to the bottom left there is a small footer that notes "filtered" these are reviews that were found un-reputable by Yelp. I business with 15+ eventually gets cleaned out but still appears online as mentioned here although on G+ it's much worse and the business is ghosted and it's next to impossible re uploading.




Any customer taking the time to look up on BBB is there because they are had an issue, customers don't initially use BBB simply because it's inconvenient


.
 

MayhemMarketing

Getting Refreshed
Jan 13, 2013
32
1
0
First Name
Mayhem
Hello, Community!

I recently stumbled upon this thread and upon scanning and taking in the overall consensus and thoughts of "online reputation". It's come to my surprise that the idea is seen in a negative light from business owners rather than the consumer market. As I feel internet marketing has only leveled the field for business owners especially in the automotive and real estate industries. One only has to view the online marketing budgets of such companies to note it's importance in modern times.


I believe it's not the management industries or companies that are the issue but the consumer base. As the average consumer has become to desensitized and is unaware of how voicing there opinion online can greatly affect a business long good standing reputation. It was the case before that a bad experience would be directed to a employee in a management position and thus be placed back in the control of the business. Any person in a managerial position can tell you the majority of customers just want the opportunity to voice there opinion unfortunately the power of the internet can magnify that voice to reach the majority whether it's valid or not. But as a business entity one must see this as an opportunity not a set back. Because at the end of the day...............,
once a potential customer walks into your establishment your reputation starts right over again and when they walk off the sales floor whether they were closed or not it is the business's responsibility to promote a positivr experience and a long standing relationship.



Yes, I own an internet marketing company and have been in the automotive industry so my opinion may be biased. This is what I can tell you; LinkedIn, Yelp, Twitter, Facebook etc. can and are manipulated. G+ is an exception as it is much more difficult for the average user to manipulate and should be only handled by "processionals" to avoid consequences.



Be weary of both individual and larger companies for these reasons. A single user is only looking for number one and will eventually be filtered as there individual account is never a priority to them. A large marketing firm may re-use there mass accounts which will eventually have a fall out due crossing. I haven't read the thread in its entirety but there is much more conservative and ethical methods to go about this but for obvious reason I can not post publicly.
 

MayhemMarketing

Getting Refreshed
Jan 13, 2013
32
1
0
First Name
Mayhem
India, Nigeria? Oh, my! No, reviews must now be Geo-targeted meaning they must come from a reviewer in a certain radius from the establishment and before you get an ideas no mobile reviews don't hold substance by the review sites.