UK seeks to ban and criminalize companies that engage in creation of fake marketing materials like flogs, splogs or other websites and claiming them to be users/ customers’ creations. Under charges of misrepresentation, social reviews will now be regulated to ensure higher authenticity. From TimesOnline:
Online consumer reviews are playing an ever greater role in shaping shopping habits, with websites such as TripAdvisor for the travel industry being seen as increasingly influential.
However, a string of businessman in the UK and the US have been caught posing as supposedly independent customers in an attempt to boost sales.
A recent investigation found that poorly rated travel establishments could lift their reputations from one to four stars in hours by posting fictional positive reviews.
Could this be the kneejerk response following Edelman PR agency’s unsuccessful forays into blogging for their clients, particularly “WalmartGate”? And more recently Pay Per Post’s brush with the FTC guys as covered here, here and here?
What next? Is this the beginning of an avalanche of legislation by govts around the world? Will Big Brother be stepping more to regulate the blogosphere?