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Being paid to lie - What say you?

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Senobia, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. #1
    Recently I was approached by two clients who wanted me to fabricate "customer reviews" for their website. Without even asking the details and terms, I declined the offer. IMO, that's being paid to lie and I wanted no part of it. I run a reputable business and provide honest, professional work. Good or bad, the reviews I get are earned, not bought. I think that's the way it should be.

    So, what say you?

    Have you been approached to do this and what was your decision?

    If you haven't been approached, would you do it if you got the offer?
     
    Senobia, Jul 8, 2011 IP
  2. Pulpseed

    Pulpseed Peon

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    #2
    I'm uncomfortable with that sort of gig. If I don't have actual experience with a product or service, I won't write a review about it. Writing a feature that covers aspects of a product could be a workaround if a client truly needs copy for a specific item, but falsely claiming to have used one is skeevy.
     
    Pulpseed, Jul 8, 2011 IP
  3. flaminbo

    flaminbo Active Member

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    #3
    I have been asked to do this same thing as well, and like you declined it as i wont review a service/product i have never tried or used
     
    flaminbo, Jul 8, 2011 IP
  4. motovip

    motovip Greenhorn

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    #4
    well decision you've made, ethical.
     
    motovip, Jul 8, 2011 IP
  5. contentboss

    contentboss Peon

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    #5
    If they actually used the reviews, they'd probably be guilty of fraud. Or intend to defraud.
     
    contentboss, Jul 9, 2011 IP
  6. wptheme

    wptheme Well-Known Member

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    #6
    I think it would be best if you ask for the product to be reviewed and offer an honest review instead after that right?
     
    wptheme, Jul 9, 2011 IP
  7. cyberdenizen

    cyberdenizen Peon

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    #7
    If somebody offers me the same job, I'd ask them if they want honest reviews or positive reviews. I'd probably ask them to supply me with the product they want me to review (if it's an infoproduct). However, if they want me to write a glowing review about something I do not believe in or never tried, I'd pass. Like you said, that's tantamount to lying and, without question, it's unethical.
     
    cyberdenizen, Jul 10, 2011 IP
  8. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #8
    I had two similar experiences.

    One was for a DP member who wanted me to write a bunch of reviews for their site/product. I didn't know the member or his offering. Like you, I declined. They seemed to have a fairly good offering so I tried to advise them a bit but who knows if they read anything past my "no".

    The second was for a long-term client. I made it clear that I don't do that sort of thing and I explained to him how beyond the whole fraudulent aspect of it that it wasn't worth it in the long run. People are smart and can often smell a faked review, no matter how skilled the writer. We talked about approaching satisfied clients and asking them to post reviews on Yelp and other places on his behalf. Circumstances have put that on hold but overall he's dropped the fake review idea.

    While saying no to a potential client is sometimes hard to swallow, I think writers have to maintain their integrity and good name. Granted, a writer could probably make a decent living from working with those types of clients, they probably wouldn't get too many more honest ones.
     
    YMC, Jul 11, 2011 IP
  9. Senobia

    Senobia Well-Known Member

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    #9
    They wanted "reviews", plural.

    Thirty to forty of them.
     
    Senobia, Jul 11, 2011 IP
  10. wptheme

    wptheme Well-Known Member

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    #10
    then you are wise to decline it. What YMC said is I would say the best what you can offer when your clients ask for these "grey" services.
     
    wptheme, Jul 11, 2011 IP
  11. parsibagan

    parsibagan Active Member

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    #11
    You did the right thing Senobia. Hello to all my old mates. Was down with heart problems and inactive for some time.
     
    parsibagan, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  12. seller2551

    seller2551 Peon

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    #12
    aaaaa morals, such a double edged sword.
     
    seller2551, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  13. articlecentre

    articlecentre Greenhorn

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    #13
    I appreciate and respect your decision. This is what one should do but I'm afraid I accepted it. After reading this, now it is making me feel guilty.
     
    articlecentre, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  14. NationwideConnection

    NationwideConnection Peon

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    #14
    I believe that people should get honest reviews... I hate people who hipe up there company then go write bad reviews on there competitors. So wrong for us who work hard and give good customer service.
     
    NationwideConnection, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  15. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #15
    And here's the other side of this discussion. They'll always be a writer who will take on these jobs. (No offense AC, we all have to do our own thing.) Sometimes I wonder which side is actually making the best decision but I will continue to plant my feet firmly on the 'just say no' side of this fence.

    What happens if it all turns to crap? I could see a client turning around and bad-mouthing a writer for failing to pull off the deceit rather than the client accepting that they took a risk that didn't pan out.
     
    YMC, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  16. funmom91

    funmom91 Active Member

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    #16
    This is why I dont believe half the reviews that are online because most of them are fake. I have written some reviews before but they were for websites so all I had to do was look at the website and base my opinion on it.
     
    funmom91, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  17. john newland

    john newland Peon

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    #17
    Instead of just saying no, I would have said "instead of faking it, lets look at what we need to do in order to get you 40 good reviews" and maybe created an opportunity for a better outcome for them, and more fees for me! In defense of your client, sometimes they know so little, and its our job to advise them. It could be that they recognized the need for a number of good reviews, and really had no idea how to go about getting them.
     
    john newland, Jul 12, 2011 IP
  18. sakhi2916

    sakhi2916 Member

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    #18
    Good decision. I respect it
     
    sakhi2916, Jul 13, 2011 IP
  19. BehemothCopywriting

    BehemothCopywriting Peon

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    #19
    That's not only immoral but also illegal.

    There are FTC regulations against this.

    I don't know if it's the good call or not.

    You know if you need the money or not.

    But you are liable in a legal fashion for these kinds of jobs.

    Thanks,
    Razvan
     
    BehemothCopywriting, Jul 17, 2011 IP
  20. meatbeagle

    meatbeagle Peon

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    #20
    I used to do this with my web content business, but always felt weird about it and finally stopped completely. The work did help me to keep the business afloat, and was thus easy to justify, but ick! Wht I've chosen to do is to differentiate between a review and a testimonial. What I call a testimonial is a first-person review or recommendation from someone who has used the product. I refuse these. What I call a review is a detailed look at the product or service in the third person. What are the product features? What sets it apart? And lastly - what do the users who write available reviews, blog posts, etc. have to say about it? This works well for me, as it does let people know what actual users think about the product, without representing that I've actually used it.
     
    meatbeagle, Jul 17, 2011 IP