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Massive fine for fake reviews


This week’s video shares the terrifying story of a dealership group in California that was recently fined $3.6 million for fake reviews. Don’t get caught posting fake reviews, or even influencing what customers write in their reviews – watch and learn more…


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn. This week, the Beard and I are up in Chicago at the Digital Dealer Workshop, but we took the time to do this video for you anyway…

It’s crazy that with both of us speaking today, and manning the table and talking to dealers, that we were able to find time to shoot and edit this video!


So we shared a video at the beginning of the year with tips on how to make your reviews better in 2017 – if you didn’t catch it, you can see it at this link:

One of the things I talked about in the video was fake reviews, and how we’ve seen more and more dealers with clearly faked or at least influenced reviews. It’s against federal law to post fake reviews – and a dealer group in California got caught.

Yep – in March, 9 dealerships in California were fined over 3.5 million dollars! That’s a lot of zeroes…

While they were also busted for using misleading ads for financing, the bulk of the problem was the fake reviews. There were so many fake reviews that they got negative reviews pointing out that the positive ones were fake.

While most of the fake reviews were on third party sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, one of the dealership posted fake reviews on its own site.

It’s never ok to leave a review of your own dealership online – and you can’t have employees or family members review your dealership either. It’s against the law, and you’re going to get fined ridiculous amounts of money if you get caught. It’s just not worth the risk!

Exactly – after getting publicly busted like this, do you think anyone in their area will believe any reviews they read online? Even the legit reviews are going to be questioned.

And we should point out – if you’ve got a problem with bad reviews, it’s still not an excuse to post fake reviews. And don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s a competitor trying to screw you over – that rarely happens.

Focus on giving amazing customer service and make sure your staff truly cares about your customers, and you won’t have any problems getting legitimate great reviews.

That’s it for this week’s video. As always, if you’ve got questions or comments, leave ‘em down below and we’ll get back to you soon. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Greg Gifford

Greg Gifford is the Vice President of Search at DealerOn. He has over 16 years of online marketing and web design experience, and has specialized in automotive SEO for the last 8 years, helping hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession. Greg speaks internationally at both automotive and SEO conferences, teaching thousands of small business owners and marketers how to get their sites to show up higher in local search rankings. Greg also spends his spare time doing freelance website design and SEO for local businesses. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Cinema and Communications, and has an obscure movie quote for just about any situation.

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