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5-Star Reviews, 5-Star Fraud. Are You Ready to Pay the Price?

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When early technologists first created the framework for the internet, few understood how vital it would be to build trust and stand out in an expansive sea of hundreds of thousands of businesses, all moving in unison to establish an online presence. Today’s entrepreneurs, in contrast, understand this problem so well that they've inadvertently set off an arms race for those coveted five-star reviews.

Related: Amazon Sues Alleged Sellers of Bogus 5-Star Product Reviews

At this stage, however, the arms race is pretty much over. “We deal with a lot of skepticism, asking people to purchase our luxury product sight unseen,” Leon Rbibo, president of jewelry businesses The Pearl Source and Laguna Pearl, pointed out to me via email. “We collect reviews not for the stars -- though they certainly don’t hurt -- but to show the world we conduct business out in the open, [that] we’re credible.”

Moving forward, how businesses obtain their stars is going to be more important than how many stars they have. Businesses face a litany of new defenses, processes and technologies, as review companies move to protect their platforms from manipulation. In short, companies that aim to manipulate or "game" the system to get fake five-star reviews face new defenses instituted by online review platforms.

These defenses include such technology as machine learning algorithms,........

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