It was in August 2011 when WOMM reviews could be purchased for a dollar a star:
5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5
In tens of millions of reviews on Web sites like Amazon.com, Citysearch, TripAdvisor and Yelp, new books are better than Tolstoy, restaurants are undiscovered gems and hotels surpass the Ritz.
Since then, due to demand, the price has doubled:
For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets
5-Star Product Reviews
The merchant, which seems to have no Web site and uses a mailbox drop in suburban Los Angeles … had received 4,945 reviews on Amazon for a nearly perfect 4.9 rating out of five.
It’s time for social media marketing departments and agencies to take action by locking in their Brand Ambassador and Citizen Marketer rates. If not, the cost for phony reviews will spiral out of control.
Collusion in the Social Media industry is the only answer – or soon Brand Ambassadors/Citizen Marketers will feel free to make even more outrageous demands. Some predict that it won’t be long before they’ll be forming Unions.
The Federal Trade Commission is already sticking their stinking noses in all this:
Under F.T.C. rules, when there is a connection between a merchant and someone promoting its product that affects the endorsement’s credibility, it must be fully disclosed.
That would sort of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?
These are likewise freedom of speech and censorship issues. All Citizen Marketers should be allowed to write/say whatever they want when reviewing a product/service without evil government intervention (and, more importantly, as long as they are properly compensated – but no gouging, please).
I don’t know why we can’t all live and work together in a peaceful, deceitful world.