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Yes, it’s here: fake content. And it’s here in great supply. Some web experts speculate that machines may be able to write as convincingly as humans in the near future.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some ways you can counter various types of fake content out there so you won’t find yourself getting burned by competitors that cheat.

  1. Fake Reviews

Ahh…nothing looks better for your company or product than a nice 4-to-5-star rating. Fall below that magic 4-star threshold and you start to lose a lot of credibility and customers.

Fortunately, there’s no need to falsify reviews to keep up. Not only would this practice make you feel incredibly guilty, but some websites—including Amazon—actually sue customers who knowingly engage in such practices.

In fact, the vast majority of consumers claim they’ll happily leave a positive review when you offer a good product or service. So, it’s really just a matter of asking.

  1. Fake Ad Views

Did you ever hear about the Russian “Methbot” scam? It involved multiple hackers who created “bots” (software programs) that accurately mimicked consumer behavior on the Web. A scam this sophisticated made the fraudulent activity unbelievably difficult to detect.

The software attacked hundreds and thousands of websites, which then attracted ad algorithms that displayed ads. The bots clicked the ads, generating revenue for the hackers and resulting in about $180 billion in stolen funds.

It’s difficult to protect yourself from a scam like this one, but you can look for unusual traffic spikes on your advertising platform. If you notice a number of these peaks in a short time span, this is a giant red flag and one to investigate.

  1. Fake Business Listings

Yes, your competitors know how to create call centers—complete with a local Google Maps listing—to make it appear as though the company is owned and operated locally. This is true for local professional services including plumbing, heating, locksmithing, and carpet cleaning businesses. To top it off, they often send in professionals who aren’t competent and charge excessively high prices for their services.

Google nails these from time-to-time, but they pop up quickly to the point where even Google can’t keep up. Thankfully, you can keep yourself safe by displaying photos of your storefront and referring to local neighborhoods you serve. Plus, you can also report fake listings to Google: giving you additional peace of mind.



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