A recent article featured on Search Engine News (“Businesses Sabotaged by Negative Reviews”) discussed some online tactics that are unfortunately becoming more common, and may become more prevalent should Google not take action soon.
The article summarized the problem a moving company in New York recently faced, after a lot of negative 1-star reviews began to pop up on the Place Page for the company. The business owner repeatedly flagged the reviews as inappropriate to have the reviews removed by Google. Then, the owner contacted others within his industry and learned they were having the same problem with reviews, many of which were quite similar. After a Google search targeting a specific phrase from several reviews was conducted (“NOBODY DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY”), the owner and his industry friends found that over a hundred moving companies across the U.S. had been hit with similar reviews. Soon after, many of them were contacted by reputation management companies that claimed they could remove the negative reviews, and even add positive reviews about the company for a fee while promising they have a special relationship with Google, which they of course do not have.