The Wall Street Journal has repeatedly spotlighted the research of Georgios Zervas, Boston University Questrom School of Business assistant professor of marketing, on the consequences of fake online reviews. Both the Journal’s Corporate Intelligence blog and its “Morning Risk Report,” which provides insights and news on governance, risk, and compliance, featured recent posts on the writing and solicitation of fake online reviews.
One post, “Fake Reviews Raise Reputation Stakes,” was prompted by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s targeting fraudulent online reviewers this week under his new initiative “Operation Clean Turf,” a yearlong undercover investigation into the reputation management industry, the manipulation of consumer-review websites, and the practice of astroturfing.
Zervas, who recently co-wrote the paper “Fake it Till You Make it” about online review fraud, told the post’s author, Samuel Rubenfeld, that the consequences for writing and soliciting fake reviews are very low and that, for anyone with a computer, crafting a fake review is simple.
He is quoted saying:
“The New York attorney general is trying to increase the cost of being uncovered as a fraudster. I think it’s a small first step in the right direction.”
Zervas, who completed his PhD in 2011 in computer science at Boston University, noted that the problem of fake reviews extends beyond New York’s borders. His paper “Fake it Till You Make it” was co-authored with Harvard Business School assistant professor Michael Luca.