What happens if a company is caught leaving client reviews or forums posts for itself?

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FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
What happens if a company is caught leaving client reviews or forums posts for itself?

The FPA considers "self-reviewing" to be a very serious offense. This practice is illegal in the US and many other countries. It is unethical everywhere. NOTE: This also applies to company employees pretending to be independent clients attacking competitors.

It doesn’t matter if an employee is also a client or not. Does any company want a competitor with more employees get itself a higher rating by having “employee/clients” leaving 5 star reviews? To leave a “client” review and not disclose this relationship is a violation of ethics as well as US Federal Trade Commission Regulations. Many other countries have similar regulations.

"But the client was visiting the office" is also a common excuse. I've seen that excuse over 100 times. I've never once seen a review like this mention anything about visiting the company's office. Do you want your competitors to be able to submit hundreds of 5 star reviews for themselves while claiming their clients were visiting the office? Can anyone trust the security of client data at your company if guests are allowed onto the corporate network?

If a company’s owners or employees are willing to tell lies or skip required disclosures about working for the company in the Forex Peace Army’s reviews or forums, how can the FPA or clients trust anything said by anyone at a company which allows employees to do this?

"The reviewer is really a client and one of us submitted the review" is also a poor excuse. Companies can easily manufacture fake proof that clients exist. Do you want your biggest competitors to be able to submit hundreds of fake 5 star reviews for themselves? Reviewers need to submit their own reviews.

The minimum penalty is each review of this sort will have comments added and will be set to Zero Stars. and have comments added informing readers where the review really came from. Forums accounts caught doing this will be permanently banned, reported to Spam-O-Matic and StopForumsSpam. Notes will be added to the account's posts and profiles so everyone can see what the company's employees tried to get away with.

The same penalty will be applied to any reviews or forums posts the FPA finds out were submitted by freelancers paid by the company. Be aware that the FPA will not take this level of action without real evidence linking your company to the offending reviews or posts. If you feel a mistake has been made, the CEO or owner of your company needs to fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Some companies have begun paying their own clients to leave reviews. The FPA considers "compensated reviews" to be no better than paid freelancers or paid employees leaving reviews. Any reviews found to have been submitted in exchange for any compensation will be set to zero stars.

The FPA may also add warning notes to review pages of companies found to be engaged in this sort of behavior. These warnings may range from noting that an incident occurred up to a firm recommendation warning traders against doing business with the offending company because of the dishonest and unethical behavior of its employees. Typically, these notes will be left on permanent public display.

If the CEO or owner of the company is willing to communicate directly with the FPA, it may be possible to eventually reduce or eliminate the warnings. The FPA will only discuss this issue with the CEO or owner. Experience has shown that talking to anyone else about an issue like this has a much smaller chance of real policies being implemented to prevent the problem being repeated.

If you are the CEO or owner, please use the special Contact Us form on this page. If you are not, then ask the CEO or owner to fill in the form. This conversation will only take place by email, never by phone. If your CEO isn’t willing to put it in writing, that shows how little the CEO really cares about unethical (and generally illegal) actions of employees in forums and reviews. Or, it shows how the CEO doesn’t want to have a written record of what is said. No matter what the reason, all disputes of issues of content in the FPA’s forums and reviews will only be handled by email, never by phone.

Related Questions

Thinking of threatening to sue the FPA to hide the fact that you or one of your employees was caught abusing the FPA’s forums or reviews? CLICK HERE to find out why that’s a very bad idea.

Other Company Representative questions? CLICK HERE

Other Reviews Questions? CLICK HERE

Other Forums Questions? CLICK HERE

If there's someone above you in the company who can fire you, do NOT fill out this form.

The contact form below is ONLY to be filled out by the company's president, CEO, or owner.

The use of this form by ANY other employee of the company will result in the minimum time to remove these unethical reviews being increased by at least 1 month.

Zero Stars


The contact form above is ONLY to be filled out by the company's CEO, president, or owner.

The use of this form by ANY other employee of the company will result in the minimum time to remove these unethical reviews being increased by at least 1 month.
Many lower ranked company employees have asked "Why does the CEO, President, or Owner need to get involved? I can take care of it."

The answer is simple. I've been dealing with company employees submitting fake reviews for over 10 years. When an employee of lesser rank promises to deal with the situation, the rate of recurrence is very high. Only the CEO. President, or Owner has the authority to reliably put in place the correct policies to slash the rate of recurrence to less than 10%.

Another reason is that review spammers can and will lie to try to save themselves. One tried to explain away a fake review with "The review was posted by our newest marketing intern." When the CEO was made aware of the incident, he contacted me to let me know the company didn't have interns. The person who told the lie about interns was the source of the fake client review, and there have been no new fake reviews from that company since the liar was fired.
What is supposed to happen?

The owner, the CEO, or the president of the company involved and I will have a chat by email. If requested, I will provide the IP addresses and other information from the fake reviews to aid in an internal investigation. I will also lay out some policy changes that I feel need to be implemented. Companies that have implemented these policies have a very low number of instances of repeated fake reviews. Companies where anyone less than the person in charge claims to have made the changes have a much higher rate of repeats. Companies that refuse to make these changes have an even higher rate of repeats.

If the person I am dealing with agrees to the changes and implements those changes, it becomes possible to have the fakes removed. The first one can be removed 6 months after the policy is communicated to all employees. If there is more than one, those can be removed one per month after the first is removed.

On rare occasions, the FPA catches a company employee leaving "client" reviews to attack competitors. In those cases, the minimum delay before removal will be much longer - at least 12 months after the last fake "self-review" is taken down. In the event of a second incident attacking a competitor, all the fakes will be left on the attacker's page permanently, and any competitors will be provided with details of the incident, including IP addresses.

If there are any new fake reviews from inside the company's offices or using accounts that can be tied to their employees, all removed fake reviews like this will come back. Depending on how severe the problem is, the countdown may be reset to a minimum of 12 months, or the reviews may stay on display forever. Any second or later offenses may be reported to regulators and consumer protection groups in whatever countries the FPA thinks are appropriate.

If the person I am dealing with does not agree to the policy changes required before removals are done, the reviews will stay on display forever.

The FPA is under no obligation to remove fake reviews. The ability to have those unethical items removed from a review page is a privilege, not a right.

There are still numerous incidents of employees who are not the owner, the CEO, the president of the company, or the chairman of the board involved deliberately misusing this contact form. As of today, any new incidents of misuse of this form by a company employee who should not be filling it out will result in a minimum of 1 additional month being added to the time before one of the fake reviews can be removed. This includes COOs or other executives. If there's someone above you who can fire you, filling out the form will get your company penalized.

Update: At least one company employee has decided that hijacking the conversation between me and the CEO after the countdown starts is ok. On 2 separate occasions, this employee wrote in about the removal before the deadline expired. The first time this person wrote in early, I mentioned that the CEO had the date. A few months later, this person wrote in early again and asked what the date was. I see I need to cover a broader range of abuse than the paragraph above mentions. This task cannot be delegated. Initial contact needs to be from the CEO. Followups need to be from the CEO. If anyone else from the company writes in to try to deal with the issue after the CEO has contact me, there will be a minimum 1 additional month added to the time before any of the fake reviews can be removed.

Update 2: Some smarter employees from several companies decided that trying to argue me into letting them take the CEO's place from the beginning is fine as long as they don't fill out the form above and trigger a penalty. From now on, I will give them a single "This is a CEO-Only issue. Give this link to the CEO." If they persist after that, that will be a one month penalty for each "But I can handle this issue" or "Let me check things out before informing the CEO" message I get.
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