Friday, October 05, 2012
Crooks who do this to small business people deserve a lengthy time in the the slammer. It is hard enough for a business person to build reputation online without phony negative reviews being used as blackmail. Further, such despicable actions make honest efforts to protect reputation appear to be a scam. Small business owners now need to protect themselves with constant monitoring and fast response. If one criminal has figured out how to make money, others will follow. There needs to be a law against phony assaults on reputation, but it will need to be written carefully to protect free speech.
This, in part, is why we have the Better Business Bureau -- to monitor and fight against these kinds of scams. There's always one around. I remember the payola scandal of years back, and the invoices for services that were never done or authorized but often got paid by the finance department because they thought they were legit. Then, there are variations on a theme, e.g., the ever-present buy an ad in our magazine or newspaper and we'll give you a feature article. Fast buck artists are a dime a dozen. Watch your wallet!