Leeds, West Yorkshire (PRWEB UK) 28 March 2013
Astroturfing has garnered much press recently, the true implications of which are largely unexplored. A majority of Britons conduct their own research online before committing to an expensive purchase or service.
What is written about a company online can have devastating consequences for its profits. Due to the ease one can register with popular online review portals and post libel and damaging statements about a business; stamping out the problem should be a matter of utmost urgency, both for Internet service providers and parliamentary legislators.
Ross Taylor owner of a Leeds Based iPhone Repair Company explains that he has been working on a piece of software that uses stylometrics to help attribute authorship to anonymous reviews, Modern stylometry draws heavily on the aid of computers for statistical analysis and artificial intelligence. Ross hopes the software can be used to expose fake reviews online and even be used to present evidence in a court of law.
Some online review portals have even sought to profit from blatantly fraudulent and fictitious reviews by offering to remove them if the business commits to paid advertising.
Ross indicated that a review portal attempted to extort his company by allowing a listing to be created using his companies name and address, filling it out with negative reviews and uploading vile pictures. After repeated attempts to get the listing removed they were only interested in offering paid advertising in exchange for the removal.
Ross elaborated on another type of review fraud which is little known as its difficult to detect, he said a rival business had sent an accomplice to his store pretending to be a legitimate customer. The accomplice presented a very badly damaged iPhone for repair which upon inspection had been completely destroyed internally, the phone was returned due to the fact it was unrepairable.
Ross later discovered the person in question had been in touch with Trading Standards and had sent him a letter asking that the phone be replaced with a new one. After becoming suspicious Ross decided to carry out an investigation, it was discovered the return address of the complainant was just a few doors away from the home address of its main competitor.
Ross explains most of his business is from referrals and recommendations, that this type of underhand conduct could have ruined his business if it was not already established as offering the fastest and most affordable iPhone repair service in Leeds.