In the past few months a number of high profile review sites have been accused of running extortion schemes. These sites are famous for posting reviews of local businesses, and since bad reviews can have a negative impact on companies, some sites have utilised a simple Extortion Scheme to increase income.
The way the scheme works is that website employees contact businesses with a high number of negative reviews and request payments that they euphemistically referred to as “advertising contracts.” What they really means is that they will remove the negative reviews and replace them with positive ones for a monthly fee.
However, the scheme is even more devious than it seems, since many websites are suspected of planting these unfavourable reviews in the first place. Basically, they have unscrupulous employees who compose bad reviews, which they then post on the sites. And after a few months have passed, they call the company in question and demand payment.
Fortunately, a number of reputable businesses have come forward and have accused a few sites of extortion. In fact, there is at least one high profile case in the States where a review site is being sued for extortion by a local business.
Hopefully law suits like these will discourage review sites from utilising these shameful tactics in the future. After all, if consumers cannot trust the reviews they read on these sites, then the sites themselves are useless.