New York Attorney General Warns People about Fake Online Reviews

November 5, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. fraudulent [FRAW-juh-luh nt] (adj.) – involving dishonesty
Example: The court sanctioned the company due to its fraudulent transactions.

2. anonymously [uh-NON-uh-muh s-lee] (adv.) – characterized by having an unacknowledged or unknown identity
Example: Customers give out comments anonymously to avoid exposing their identity.

3. legitimate [li-JIT-uh-mit] (adj.) – proper, accepted, or authorized
Example: One cannot question a legitimate proof of ownership.

4. dissect [dih-SEKT, dahy-] (v.) – to closely look into the specific details or parts
Example: Attorney Smith dissected the case from the largest to the smallest information.

5. rely [ri-LAHY] (v.) – to have trust or to depend on something or someone
Example: The new employee relies on her manager for instructions.


Read the text below.
New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman [SHNAHY-der-muh n] warns the public against fraudulent online reviews about different products and services.

Although most online reviews are posted anonymously, many people still rely on these reviews when it comes to purchasing food, clothing, and services for recreation. In fact, a recent survey says that after advertising by word-of-mouth, online reviews are the second most trusted form of advertisement.

According to a recent research from the Harvard Business School, an increase of rating in online reviews may boost the sales of a business. For instance,—an online business rating and review website—can make an eight-percent increase in a restaurant’s sales just by adding one point in its rating. Also, an additional rating on Travelocity or TripAdvisor may result in an 11-percent increase in a hotel room rate.

However, Schneiderman emphasized that many of the online reviews are not legitimate. People who have not even experienced the products or services appear to be giving fake reviews that can deceive many customers.

In order to get rid of fake reviews on the Internet, Schneiderman and his office are trying to dissect this false system by conducting thorough investigations.

As part of the investigation, staffers of the attorney general pretended to be owners of a yogurt shop. They contacted a company that posts fake reviews for products and services on various search engines.

Last month, Schneiderman has already reported 19 companies that are involved in making fake online reviews. With enough evidence, the said companies are penalized to pay $350,000 for misleading the customers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, why do some companies hire fraudulent online reviewers?
·         What do you think can be the long term effects of fraudulent online reviews to a certain business? Please explain.

Discussion B

·         Why is word-of-mouth marketing very effective?
·         How did the Internet change the way products or services are marketed today?


November 5, 2013