Are You Playing Russian "Review" Roulette?

Car dealers are being scammed because of their desire to catch up with the Internet Reputation Management (IRM) bandwagon.  

The scam I am speaking of involves companies telling dealers that they will "post" reviews for the dealership as a  paid service.  

Whether these reviews are fabricated or actual comments from customer emails, in-store surveys, or phone surveys will vary from case to case.


In any case, Google Places is designed for a person, not an agent, to post a review about their experience with a business listed on Google Places.  For many dealers, their reviews on Google Places are accurate but a growing number of dealers I test are being sucked into this dangerous scam.


Kelly Is a Busy Bee


Take a look at these actual reviews from a dealer in New York:

The review above from Kelly may look authentic, until you click on Kelly's Google Profile.  That hyperlink on her name displays this activity on Google Places:

Kelly has been busy posting reviews for a number of stores in New York.  Obviously this is an agent working for a review posting company and not a single person who buys dozens of cars a day.


Why Is This Bad?


It is bad on a number of fronts.  First and foremost, it places your Google Places account in jeopardy of being delisted.  In one case I personally know, the dealership main URL was demoted to Google Page 3, as a punishment!

Secondly, it invites consumers or competitors to make consumers aware of the fake reviews.  Take a peek at this post by a consumer who figured out the dealer was using a posting service:

Once your online reputation and credibility is damaged, it is very hard to recover.   There is NO REASON why a dealer should not be able to get 10-20% of their happy customers to post a review on Google Places when they are at the dealership.


There is no excuse to put your online reputation at risk.  It is short sighted and dangerous.   Please take a minute to MAKE SURE that your store, and any store in your organization has not hired this type of company.  Click on the user profiles of the reviewer, and make sure they are not part of an IRM company that violates Google TOS.


See you at DMSC and NADA next week!



Brian Pasch CEO of PCG

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing
Text PCGedu to 75674 get information on our upcoming conferences
Brian Pasch

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Comment by Tom Gorham on January 28, 2012 at 6:49pm

@David T. Gould - "I will leave the "at the dealership" part as an area that we can agree to disagree on."  I'm with you brother!  Otherwise, I loved the article.

Comment by Tony Troussov on January 27, 2012 at 2:03pm

Brian, why do Russians always get the shaft?   :)))


Tony Troussov

Your Russian Sales Trainer

Comment by Mike Warwick on January 26, 2012 at 4:08pm

Like so many other issues, Dealer Principals need to be made aware of the jeapordy they are being put in.  I don't think dealers want to learn about these deceptive practices when the FTC violations and fines start rolling in.  There has never been a more important NADA convention for dealers to get a handle on the threats to their businesses. 

Comment by David T. Gould on January 26, 2012 at 3:17pm

Brian... Can't image the cost of that dealer's ranking dropping to page 3. Ouch! I agree that dealers should make the effort to have real customers posting real google places reviews. I will leave the "at the dealership" part as an area that we can agree to disagree on. Keep up the great posts... They remain a valuable service to all auto dealers.

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 26, 2012 at 3:10pm

Great article Brian.  Thanks for helping to get the word out about these companies.

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