Companies could face suits for paying for positive online reviews

Analysts say FTC will pursue cases against those who compensate for false critiques

Glowing online consumer reviews are music to any company’s ears. But some companies will go farther than others to procure such positive comments.

For instance, in March 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Legacy Learning Systems Inc., the maker of a popular series of guitar-lesson DVDs, would pay $250,000 to settle charges that it deceptively advertised its products by paying online marketers to pose as ordinary consumers and write positive reviews of its products.

The Government’s Take

In 2009, the FTC published a guide governing endorsements and testimonials in which it clarified that paying for positive reviews without disclosing that reviewers had been compensated is deceptive advertising, and it will prosecute such practices in the same way.

Ashley Post

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