How To Report a Company’s Fake Positive Google Reviews

gmbRecently a client brought to my attention a business in their area who rapidly accumulated dozens of 5 star reviews. Interestingly, they already had half a dozen negative reviews. A lot of people are afraid to leave businesses a negative review, so if this many people stepped forward to leave a bad 1 star review, they clearly upset a lot of folks.

I’ve always wondered how to report a competitor’s fake positive Google reviews. I myself once owned a brick and mortar business for 13 years and had dealt with companies giving themselves fake reviews in the past but in many cases they just gave themselves half a dozen and gave up. But in this case, the business is rapidly accumulating reviews.

So, I figured out how it is done, witnessed the process in action, and now I’m here to report on it.

How to report fake positive reviews

You can flag individual reviews left in Google when viewing a business’s reviews, but if they look like normal reviews or not contain vulgarities or hate speech, Google is not going to do anything about them. But, I do have actionable advice:

  1. Obtain evidence of the incentive. This is the most important step. You need a screenshot of their offering, a URL clearly showing where they are incentivizing reviews, a photo of their flyer, or clear proof. Some businesses advertise their payment for reviews on their website or on social media such as Twitter or Facebook. If a business has obtained 4 or 5 reviews in the last 10 years and then suddenly received 70 in just a few days from people who have clearly never used their services, this may be enough “proof” as well.
  2. Present the facts. Check your emotions at the door and head over to the Official Google My Business community forum. Type up exactly how the reviews are being purchased or incentivized, the dates the misleading reviews were left and post this in one tidy post in the forum.
  3. Locate a “top contributor”. These forum members may find your post on their own. If they do not, ping them or track them down in the forum so they see your post. If you have a legitimate case, they will use their superpowers to escalate your report from the forum to Google. Do not beg, they only care about the facts and keeping Google’s data accurate.

Example threads where people have successfully had fake positive reviews removed:

Fake reviews are unethical, deceptive and possibly illegal.

When most people find a business online they simply see the star count or star rating of a business and proceed to trust Google and contact the business. Very few end users will go through dozens of reviews, scrutinizing each one.

Fake positive reviews are so deceiving. Not only is this against Google’s policy, there are laws against it put in place by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC does not want people incentivizing people’s reviews. It is against the law. It’s rare the FTC actually takes action against people, however they do sometimes make an example out of someone for misrepresenting their business.

Getting fake positive reviews is a bad idea. You’re going to upset other business owners in the area. I’ve personally been in business for a little over two decades now and have always found it to be in my best interest to simply be good, honest and treat everyone, even competitors, respectfully.

Have you seen a business buying fake reviews?

We would like to hear your story; please feel free to comment below.

Len

President at Telapost
I create content and do SEO for law firms, small businesses and companies worldwide. I have been generating traffic online since 1992. I have owned multiple successful companies. I'm an organic eater, nature lover and German Shepherd owner. Feel free to contact me here.
6 Comments
  1. Do you have any type of business to help a company discover a competitors fake positive reviews?

    • I can usually tell if they’re fake simply by glancing at them.. Is that what you’re asking? The wording, velocity, and reviewer are all giveaways. Also the quantity of reviews.. For example, a local law firm in a small town may have 2 reviews… Any more an that would look suspicious…

  2. Hello my ex boss forced us to write Google reviews I’ve deleted mine and so has my other coworker who moved away. But there’s still others up and his medical biller also created a page to write one from her bf who has never even been to the office for any reason nor has he met anyone who works there how can this be reported. Also I don’t know if you know anything about this, but he’s using our pics and we never signed a waiver giving him permission to use for his business or Web page how do I get help

  3. Ya, I just went somewhere yesterday that ended up having a lot of bad reviews but . But even more 4 star reviews from people that didn’t leave any comments. They had two local guides that gave them great reviews. I looked at the other reviews the local guide gave. She reviewed a restaurants and other things. Well at the restaurant she took a picture of a tree stump. At a movie place she took a picture of a a car in a parking lot. 4 stars for that lol. So basically they have people review and leave photos of anything. To get the title of “local reviewer” . But when it comes to there business they leave nice photos with long comments.

  4. My company has worked hard to obtain each and every review in Google. Our competition that once had a rating of 3.1 now suddenly has received 20+ 5 star review in 1 month. Hmmm. Strange, very aggravating

  5. We are into wedding invitation and printing services, we are rated as the best card designer in the town, but from last few days one of our competitor hired an agency and are putting fake 5 star reviews.

    please check:

    https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&tbm=lcl&ei=qOprW6fOA5OevQTEkKiwCw&q=green+cards+india+pune&oq=green&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.35i39k1j0i67k1l8j0i20i263k1.15857.16675.0.18639.5.5.0.0.0.0.234.645.2-3.3.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..2.3.643…0j0i131i67k1j0i131k1.0.rtjZWhVh3qo#rlfi=hd:;si:15367087394491670010;mv:!1m3!1d303.5713508352555!2d73.853864!3d18.517584499999998!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i946!2i493!4f13.1

    They have put nearly 275 fake 5 star review in span of just 2 months WHERE AS THEY ARE IN BUSINESS FROM LAST 6-7 YEARS

    let me tell you why they are fake:

    1)they are into business from last 6-7 years but never got reviews

    2) in just month of july 2018 they got nearly 150- 200 reviews ( all positive and not a single negative or less then 4 stars)

    3) on august 4th to 6th there review were 205 and on 8th they went to 303 that;s a miracle as in india its monsoon time and complete off season for people to do wedding in rains.

    4) when i sat to write this complaint there reviews were 303 and i just checked in 10 min they rose to 328.

    5) its complete off season here in India because of heavy rains no customer in market then then also they are getting average 20-25 reviews per day where as you can’t handle 3-4 clients per day in a shop of 200 s.ft.

    6) if you keep watch on there fake reviews you will notice a heavy rise in there reviews everyday.

    7) till june there reviews were some 30 – 35 and in august they rose to 328 ( its complete off season)

    8) total 328 reviews and not a single negative review there rating is 4.9 where as there earlier reviews were all negative as the owner is rude and had gone to legal prosecution several times.

    9) and now when i finished writing all this there review has gone to 342 that’s a jump from 303 to 342 in just 20 min (and still there shop is closed).

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