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It's not the dealership's fault - they were probably told the company would be gathering and POSTING reviews of their real customers...This is really a SERIOUS, emerging issue, as more companies/dealerships, understandably, need help with the heavy-lifting of Online Reputation Management/Social Media.
Authenticity is KEY and it's going to get more CRUCIAL - and when it comes to Reputation Management/Social Media solutions there are NO 'magic wands' - there are good tools and good 'wands.'
These kind of consumer backlashes against dealerships' inauthentic reviews have been brewing online for quite some time - and now the news media is running with it....
April Molina, KSAT 12 News Reporter - POSTED: Thursday, October 14, 2010
SAN ANTONIO -- A consumer is questioning the online ratings of a local auto dealership.
Watch April Molina's Report: http://www.ksat.com/video/25398360/index.html
"They're just five-star ratings, five-star ratings -- five-star after five-star," said BMW owner, Greg Kinney of some dealership reviews he found posted online.
Kinney said he was a little surprised, as his own experience with BMW of San Antonio fell short of the exceptional reviews he found online Though he is quick to note, no dealership is perfect, Kinney said he questions the number of great reviews and the suspicious pattern.
"It's really very thinly veiled," said Kinney.
Skimming through some online posts, Kinney clicked on the profile of a person who'd given BMW of San Antonio a glowing review on City Search, and soon found all the other reviews posted by the same person on the same day referring to different businesses in different cities.
"(There are) 20 reviews by him. Here's one for backpackers Vacation Inn and Plantation Village. Nob Hill Hotel was posted on the sixth, so I guess he was there too. The Bridal Superstar by Posie Patch got five stars on the same date," said Kinney.
Wondering whether the profile was actually a paid service, Kinney contacted the KSAT Defenders.
Reporters contacted BMW General Manger John Bruns, who confirmed they did hire a service through Review Boost. Bruns said he was under the impression Review Boost would be in contact with their customers, generating actual reviews, but they too questioned the authenticity once they viewed them online.
"Obviously, there's a business out there that's decided to make money by writing five-star reviews," said Kinney.
BMW has since canceled the service and is working to remove questionable reviews taken from the various websites. The dealership also said they do conduct interviews with actual customers and that those reviews are the real deal. They attributed suspicious reviews to other companies.
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