Recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising, according to a recent Nielsen study. Ninety percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online
But what if the review is fake, done by the brands themselves? That’s what happened to Russ Taylor when he was looking for an expresso machine. (via WSJ) He noticed a DeLonghi machine received good reviews. Then he noticed the person who wrote it only did reviews, all of which were effusive in their praise, about the company. A short Google search later, he figured out the writer worked at the company. As he said:
“You would think that anyone involved at the managerial level in a large firm such as DeLonghi would want to avoid ruining their firm’s reputation by engaging in this type of false and deceptive activity. I would imagine it’s a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, as well as numerous state laws.”
This is one example why the Federal Trade Commission has continued to get involved in sponsorships and the blogosphere. And another example of how brands misuse social media.