Scam Alert: Trustpilot.com, ran by Mr. Peter Muhlmann and Don Ross– is TrustPilot.com a “Money Scheme” & Operating a Review Site that allows “Fabricated Reviews”?
Be careful how seriously you take customer reviews on these brand new review sites like TrustPilot.com, G2 Crowd, and TestFreaks.com.
TrustedCompanyReviews.com and Guardian Money recently uncovered hundreds of fake reviews submitted on TrustPilot.com and found that the company was involved in an “international money scheme”. If you look up TrustPilot.com at the Better Business Bureau, Reviews.com and even on Google, you will find hundreds’ of consumer complaints against the company.
According to the Guardian Money investigation, “Trustpilot.com claims to have millions of ‘authentic reviews from actual customers’ to help shoppers buy online with confidence”, but investigative reports reveal “fake reviewing on an almost industrial scale, with companies paying offshore contractors to post numerous glowing accounts of their activities”.
TrustPilot’s CEO, Peter Muhlmann, continues to deny accusations, telling the public that these are “unbiased and real customer reviews at TrustPilot.com”.
Here’s What Investigations Stated About TrustPilot.com:
- In exchange for high fees ($500+ per month), TrustPilot.com rates certain companies highly by allowing fake reviews, while hurting the reputation of other companies that didn’t pay these high fees. If you’re a Trustpilot “Gold Member”, TrustPilot will advise you to hire sub-contractors from countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia, who, for a relatively low fee, will write and send false reviews using scores of aliases and fake addresses. By using this approach, the reviews appear to be real but are “paid reviews” and fake. Trustpilot’s member companies use sites like https://www.freelancer.com and http://fiverr.com to hire freelancers to write fake reviews. Companies can buy fake reviews on these sites for as low as $5, making it extremely easy for TrustPilot’s partner companies to get hundreds of fake reviews that appear real!
- To authenticate itself; TrustPilot.com accuses certain companies that don’t pay their high fees, as being “cheaters who participate in getting fake reviews” and will put warnings on certain company profiles saying; “this company was flagged for fake reviews”. The highest rated companies on TrustPilot.com, are companies that have the most online complaints at places like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google.
Here is an example of a warning that we found placed on several companies at TrustPilot.com. And the companies that had this warning placed on them were all companies that had an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and appeared to be reputable companies–almost as if Trustpilot was paid to sabotage these companies.
- TrustPilot.com was originally formed by Peter Muhlmann and Don Ross for the sole purpose of reviewing their subsidiary marketing companies, as a way of doing “reputation management” and “generating leads”, according to an ex-employee of the company.
How to Spot Fake and Fraudulent Reviews
- Check for poor grammar and writing mistakes, as fake reviews are often written by freelancers from other countries.
- Click on the image of the reviewer to check their online profile to see if it’s legitimate.
- Look up a company at the Better Business Bureau, Yelp and on Google.
- Check with the Division of Corporations to see how long a company has been in business.