The scammer says things like “Pay me $1,500 or I will blast out negative reviews about your company.” and “Failure to comply means the end of your business.” Complete with a bunch of spelling and grammar mistakes…
Not only is the entire scam completely illegal, but it lacks some merit as well. No matter how carefully key worded or how bountiful the quantity, it is extremely difficult to rank high in a search in common search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!
BBB Advice to Business Owners: Take these threats very seriously. Online reviews and word-of-mouth are significant factors that drive purchasing decisions and can have a considerable impact on reputations.
Remember, third-party review websites are not legally responsible for content that is submitted by their users so it is unlikely that expensive lawsuits would be successful; while most of these sites employ strict scrubbing policies to prevent fraud it is still estimated that fakes account for 10-30 percent of all online reviews. The most important tool that small business owners and employees have to protect livelihoods is learning how to spot fakes. Check out Consumerist’s article: 30 Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews
Encourage your customers to submit reviews at bbb.org, where they will be reviewed before they are posted. Verified reviews from a brand you trust.