Last year New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman opened a yogurt shop in Brooklyn, which got some negative reviews. The attorney general’s office got in action and within a few months had arranged positive reviews. But here is the catch: the yogurt shop was fake and the negative reviews were contrived. The operation was part of a year-long probe into deceptive practices of customer-review websites. The positive reviews of Schneiderman’s fake yogurt outfit were put out by companies long suspected of deceptive practices.
The investigation nailed down 19 companies. Some of them even advertised online—on Craigslist, for instance—for freelance writers to write the deceitful reviews. They even paid freelance writers from “as far away as the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe” between US $1 and $10 per review, the investigation revealed.
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