- Regulators in New York recently launched a crackdown on fake online reviews called "Operation Clean Turf."
- From the investigations, the regulators reached agreements with 19 different companies who agreed to pay a total of $350,000 in penalties for either soliciting or creating fake reviews.
- Some of the review sites, like Yelp , are being proactive by deleting or marking reviews they believe to be fraudulent. Yelp posts a "Consumer Alert" on the pages of businesses they have caught using fake reviews.
This type of crackdown is happening outside of New York, as well, so marketers engaged in this type of activity should take notice. The article does bring a good point to light in that the fines these firms received is likely a drop in the bucket to the revenue generated by the fake reviews. The risk of being caught for this type of behavior may be minimal, but it is declared by the FTC to be illegal. Ultimately, whether the practice continues will come down to a moral question for companies and marketers.