You own a small business and want to pump up the public's perception of it, so you go to one of those consumer review sites (e.g. Yelp) and write a fake review with all sorts of wonderful things and post it under a phony name. Should that be against the law? In New York this week, regulators cracked down on 19 companies that used those deceptive practices and hit them with big fines. Will that have any effect on the businesses involved, and what about the reputations of the sites themselves, not to mention the companies that aided and abetting this online lying?
On my America Weekend show, I talked it over with David Streitfeld, who covered the story for the NY Times. We also discussed how this impact's Google's new "shared endorsements," where you may end up being used in an ad for a product that your "friends" see, but which you didn't receive any compensation for. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!