An end to bogus UGC?

Pinsent Mason’s out-law.com reports that the EU is to legislate against unscrupulous businesses who post fake user reviews of their own products.

There’s little doubt that the practice is currently widespread. As a consumer, using sites like Amazon and TripAdvisor, I’m often suspicious of the rogue five-star review (usually anonymous) that flows against a tide of negativity.

UGC is now sacrosanct in the eyes of both marketers and users. So much so that more and more companies are encouraging reviews of their own products on their own websites. Historically this was baulked at by the PR team who feared opening a can of worms in their own back yard. Poor reviews on Epinions are bad enough but to allow them on your own website would be plain crazy, right? Well, apparently not any more.

This seems like a paradigm shift in corporate communications with us web professionals playing a lead role alongside our marketing colleagues. In this new climate of two-way trust, between web users and publishers, website managers are honour-bound to ensure that what their content providers present as UGC on their own pages is just that. The new legislation can only help encourage this.

Paul Thewlis is an online marketing professional, SEO expert and author of a wordpress book for business bloggers.

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