• Joshua Babbish

Fake reviews

Updated: Apr 17

The intention behind this post is not only to set the record clear about how our company operates, our history, and track record--but also to get a glimpse into the realities of the digital age and how (despite it's continual advancement) technology is underdeveloped in it's ability to protect users from fraudulent activity. The corporations in control of tech's development simply have few incentives to resolve this matter. Just like a sister topic of this--privacy rights.

As many of our customers have become aware, over the last year (2021) we have come across a unique internet phenomena we prevously didn't know existed for small businesses---Stalking and public defamation. In our case the internet creeper has decided to create countless fake google profiles under fake names to leave reviews on our google page to manipulate our ratings and to intentionally jeopardize our ability to thrive in the current business landscape. I'm actually thankfully to have been shown through this process: how Google works, it's weaknesses and strengths, and also what I feel to be corruption. The business hasn't suffered, we are still moving forward, and everyone has grown from the experience.

Ok: The dirt. If you're looking to hear all the bad things people have to say about this company, Here it is! When I first started getting these reviews I didn't take pictures, I didn't even care really. But. I learned that I needed to care if I was to learn every possible thing from the experience. I'm going to post screenshots of many reviews that have since been removed, and also some of them haven't. Any negative review we have is all from this same creeper. When observing these pictures, please note the time stamp, which is the key factor that makes the truth in this matter obvious. It was a regular thing for a while--every weekend really. Like a date or a routine brunch. We have never had a real negative review and I'm always happy to discuss issues or concerns. Of the 6 years in business we have had, any mistakes we may have made have been sorted out in a professional manner so as to not create a negative record. It is our standard operating procedure to allow our customers some time before we conclude a project to point out anything they'd like to change, or anything we must correct.

First is the fake reviews on our Yelp page which did not reflect painting service at all.

And...the google reviews....we have probably received 50-100 fake reviews in the last year. All either silent one star reviews, or with some kind of sardonic message. Often the message involves a non profit in Asheville the individual doesn't seem to like. Watch the time stamps on these. How likely is it that a painting company that serves maybe 25 or so customers a year would get this kind of response.....

I would say the fact that we haven't received a single negative review 6 years of business, and then we receive several within a matter of a few minutes aught to be a strong indicator of what's going on.

Here's another photo of the person's profile that was leaving reviews on my yelp page which displays that the individual was openly attacking multiple people through a fake name....internationally.

And Finally, the most recent attack has been to delete our phone number and change our website link to the link they created to support their defamation campaign against this educational organization.

It is quite obvious our current negative google rating has nothing to do with Center Line Painting, or our ability to paint things and (I'll say) do our best to go above and beyond meeting customer expectations. I've never asked any customers for donations to any non profits and I've never used the company for anything other than what's stated---to paint houses and to do handyman type projects.

I'll finalize this by addressing the title of the blog: "Fake reviews," which was originally "fake reviews and Google's compacency." The awareness I came to throughout all of this is that Google does not care about the situation that they have facilitated. They have review policies that clearly state that it is against their review policy---- ---

"to harrass, to try to manipulate ratings, to try to make fake accounts and leave fraudulent reviews with them."

Unfortunately, besides using algorithms, they do not want to manually remove reviews, even if it is quite obvious--like the many photos I've shown above. Since I've argued this with Google on many occasions, I need this little webpage just as a shortcut which gives a basic sense of what's going on with our google business listing-as well as for potential customers. I'm grateful for the support that google has given throughout the process, but I've seen that it is against their interest to put in a system that deliberately protects their customers from fraudulent activity. I work with multiple other platforms that have stepped in to defend me in this matter. I have thought of so many ideas and shared so many things with the google support staff that can empirically make reviews verifiable and easier to sort out the fake ones. Their personnel have often just been sent in response copy and paste responses of how much "google cares," without actually doing anything to help. Where's the love?

Bottom line is for our customers and potential customers--just ask for references if you need them. The reality is the Google company is fat and happy. Why should they spend the time to protect small businesses? They get paid by click, and drama creates more clicks- that is a basis for modern marketing. Just read some books on marketing if you want to know the truth about it! For some, the $ rules, for us we just to do the job that needs to be done. Like protecting your deck and thus the world you see everyday. Sometimes you can't change what you must see, what you have to deal with in life, but a deck---yeah, we can help you with that!

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