Latest from Twitter

Our brand-new visual identity and website launches this morning – bit.ly/1A1gdUP. It’s all about Business Impact.

Our brand-new visual identity and website goes live this morning – bit.ly/b2lwebsite. It’s all about Business Impact.

Many congratulations to all of those who were promoted today. Looking forward to promoting more of our talented B2Lers in the coming months

Another birthday in the B2L office today. Happy Birthday @Vikiibell. We hope you enjoy the birthday cake! pic.twitter.com/MftlQSNgBu

Thank you for coming in today @perceptivecomms we really enjoyed your talk. Hope to see you again soon

Enjoying some birthday celebrations in the office with chocolate cake for our Director of Marketing @sassle78 pic.twitter.com/PMZmXxABu9

One person was quite dry at the end...but not for long! #ALSIceBucketChallenge bit.ly/VHWfkA and from behind bit.ly/1rqcly4

Want to see how @csjthinktank and @IPPR set the agenda for family policy? Check out our Storify: bit.ly/1oXRvEn

Big thank you to the @Telegraph's @stephenkb for sharing his insights on political journalism at our weekly Thursday Lunch initiative today

It's the return of (cl) @RentokilUK's pop-up #Pestaurant today! And it's bigger, better & buggier than ever before! pic.twitter.com/UYnWnWMVGk

Influential think tank, @Policy_Exchange, has launched a controversial report on non-medical treatments in the #NHS dailym.ai/1uWp9Nd

Enjoying some sweet treats in the office today as part of our charity bake sale for @actnforchildren's #ByteNight pic.twitter.com/3ohQWvT3JO

We've made a Storify to show how @iealondon has been setting the agenda on housing policy this week bit.ly/1rdheub

Our consumer team had a busy morning helping (cl) @match_UK's #matchcafe in Soho Square pic.twitter.com/8ZviVNZBbx

Labour focus has switched to self-employment, as @IPPR finds that UK self-employment figures highest in Europe bit.ly/VhBxHS

Opinion from (cl) @RadiumOneUK on @Guardian po.st/vJAf6x ‘Programmatic get advertisers into the heads of their target audience’

Who really sets the political, cultural and business agenda? Here's our quick guide to UK think tanks agendasetting.co.uk

Is the marketing director dead? Insights from (cl) @merlinthementor on the future of the role: theguardian.com/media-network/…

Visit us on Twitter...

Fake reviews: how is industry responding?

01/05/2013

One of our board directors, Armand David, was asked his views on his views on the reach and impact of ‘fake reviews’ by The Sun. His comments were published today and are available in full below.

It’s difficult to gauge how bad the problem of fake reviews is – it’s virtually impossible to police every review posted on every website in the world, and nor would you want to. There are few things to take encouragement from.

First – the reputational damage for companies perpetrating these ‘unfair trading practices’ – as they are known under UK law – is tremendous. We think this is why the issue of ‘astroturfing’ does not seem to be as widespread as you might expect, given how long there have been opportunities to post fake reviews in the Amazon community, Tripadvisor, and so on.

Second – the Internet community at large is usually quick to respond, not to mention competitors. Have a look at this story in which HTC put Samsung to task for this very issue.

Third – most  sites that host reviews provide easy recourse in the event of unfair or invalid reviews. On Tripadvisor you can report a ‘problem with a review’ in a matter of a few clicks, similarly on Amazon and so on.

Fourth – there is a rise in the prevalence and respectability of community reviews sites like Trustpilot, Revoo & Bazaarvoice, and in social rankings schemes for reviewers on major commercial and reviews sites that assign authority to trustworthy reviewers. This will in time start to limit the credibility of the ‘spam’ or ‘fake’ reviewers as they will have little or no social currency. That is to say, their reviews won’t appear with any prominence because people have voted them down as a trustworthy source of insight. This is a fast developing area.

However – there are incidents where these do come through. In addition to the HTC / Samsung case, authors have kicked off on Amazon, filing negative stories about each other’s’ books (and positive ones too, under aliases) – have a look at what the Guardian turned up here.

Under UK law – astroturfing is illegal and can result in hefty fines or even jail sentences. A law introduced in 2008 (the Consumer Protection From Unfair Trading Regulations act of 2008) is pretty clear that any action that causes – unfairly – a consumer to make a commercial decision (to buy or not to buy) is illegal. A fake review would certainly fall in this category and even if you didn’t choose to prosecute, the additional reputational damage of potentially being taken to task in this way will provide a fairly strong disincentive to fake it.