Yes, it’s here: fake content. And it’s here in great supply. Some web experts speculate that machines may be able to write as convincingly as humans in the near future.
So, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can counter the various types of fake content out there so you don’t find yourself getting burned by competitors who cheat.
- Fake Reviews
Ahh…nothing looks better on your company or product than a nice 4-5 star rating. Fall below that magic 4-star threshold, and you start to lose a lot of credibility and customers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to find yourself falsifying reviews to keep up. Not only would you feel guilty, but some websites, like Amazon actually sue customers who knowingly engage in such practices.
90% of consumers say they’ll happily leave a positive review when you offer a good product or service. So, it’s really just a matter of asking.
- Fake Viewing of Your Ads.
Did you hear about the Russian “Methbot” scam? It involved multiple hackers creating “bots” (software programs) that accurately mimicked consumer behavior on the web. The amazing part of the scam was that it was done in such a sophisticated way that fraudulent activity was difficult to detect.
The software attacked hundreds and thousands of websites. The websites attracted ad algorithms, which then showed the ads. The bots clicked the ads, generating revenue for the hackers. Current reporting states about $180 billion were stolen.
It’s hard to protect yourself from this one. But, you can look for unusual traffic spikes in your advertising platform. Your suspicion should go up exponentially if you notice a number of these spikes in a short time span.
- Fake Business Listings
Yes, your competitors do know how to create call centers, complete with a local Google map listing, that make it appear as though the company is owned and operated locally. This is true for local professional services like plumbing, heating, locksmithing, and carpet cleaning. To top it off, they often send in professionals who aren’t competent and charge excessively high prices for their services.
Google nails these from time-to-time. However, they pop up quickly to the point where even Google can’t keep up.
You can keep yourself safe by displaying photos of your storefront and referring to local neighborhoods you serve. Plus, you can also report the fake listings to Google.
Fake content will continue to be a challenge to deal with. But you can beat it with the help of these tips.