Samantha (The Serial Bogus Google Reviewer) Strikes Again

Oh Samantha you naughty vixen you.

You get outed in Philadelphia dinging lawyers with fake reviews. Little did I know that you were a serial offender.  Triangle Direct Media seems to have found that you already had second profile with the same name and that you had done your dirty deed to 18 cleaning companies in Cary, NC.

Oh dear Samantha, how many others have you hurt? I think I see a pattern. You appear addicted and seem to be making a business out of this reputation management stuff.

In case your business needs marketing help I have put together this tag line for you: Positive only reviews for your business but wait till you see what we say about your competitor. 


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Samantha (The Serial Bogus Google Reviewer) Strikes Again by

20 thoughts on “Samantha (The Serial Bogus Google Reviewer) Strikes Again”

  1. Wow, it’s amazing that people feel they can get away with this and that it is not noticeable. Well, considering these have been live for 10 months now I’m assuming no one reported it, so I guess they can. Good catch.

    1. The reality is that Samantha is but a symptom of the widespread abuses in the review section of Google Places from the petty anty single bogus review to the minions of sock puppet reviewers that add their drivel to Places.

      Clearly, as you point out, Google seems incapable at the moment of restricting their movements.

  2. I’m not sure they need to worry about ‘restricting their movements’, but they do need to start looking at the reviews they have made (i.e. multiple in the same category, only one positive, lots of negative, etc.), and from that analysis deciding to ignore their ‘votes’… Erm – you’d think that they would know a thing or two about back-link analysis… But from looking at the profile for the company (4 stars overall) – it looks like they are taking all votes into consideration…

  3. Given the widespread negative reviews across single industries, would you guess that this is an SEO (or anti-SEO) company working for Go Green? I guess I’m curious as to whether the IP can be tracked back to specific company or individual. I would love to see them outed.

    I think I’m going to send Samantha some candy and flowers to get on her good side. Although if she doesn’t like them it might spell doom and gloom for the candy and flower industries.

  4. @Stephen
    We know that Google has been implementing and upgrading their spam review algo. Obvioulsly it is still not sophisticated nor thorough enough with these obvious patterns.

    Yes it appears to likely be a firm doing this on behalf of a client. It is so transparent though, I can’t imagine they will stick around long.

  5. This stuff has been going on for years. Mike, you have reported on this before. Changes to the algo make it a little harder to spot the spammers (forces them to change techniques) but it does not seem to slow them down much.

  6. @Ted
    I know, I know… old news. But I couldn’t help but take advantage of the Samantha angle and just wanted to reinforce how little has been done by Google to combat this stuff…. so sorry for the repitition… I just couldn’t resist.

  7. Hopefully all this chatter smokes out the interlopers and exposes them for the frauds they are.

    Wish in one hand…

    Between Samantha and Max’s Deli…is this kind of thing ever going to reach a point where the law gets involved?

    or worse…local gov’t…or it would have to be gov’t first, then law…right?

    oh no

  8. You know what, I see this stuff all the time and I never report it. I going to from now on. I’m hit the report button and post my findings on my blog. This is so not cool.

  9. Thanks Mike…very prevalent up here in Canuckland – especially in car dealership channels! As shown by Samantha’s list, they all tend to 1-star up to dozens of dealerships and 5-star their client – least that’s how I read it. Google did appear to re-jig the review rankings after a plentiful # of notices of this by me and others…but I see that they’re back…and I’ve gotta start to re-click on the Report button, I suppose…just wish I actually “had” a car dealership client….now that I know how to get them blackhat rankings! :-)))

  10. Up next… Positive reviews. Multiple users that post positive reviews of the exact same businesses. I have a collection of spammed positive reviewers. But this negative stuff takes it to a whole new level… And Samantha is such a nice name 🙂

  11. @Zachary

    As Ted pointed out pointed out above positive reviews are an old but outstanding & big problem.

    Here are but two articles from 2010 that detail some of the problems:

    *The Review Economy – What is a Positive Review Worth? $3.22
    *Reviews – Do Positive Only Review Services have a place?

    Google did implement a spam review algo that has removed some reviews. But it has been both a thorn in the side of real businesses as it seems to nick a number of real reviews AND more significantly seems to be easy to circumvent.

    When Google will roll out a more sophisticated solution is anybody’s guess. Lets hope it catches the bad guys and skips penalizing the good ones.

    Certainly the time has more than come for Google to get their review house in order.


  12. and of course there is the current group of “reputation management” scam firms who for $399 per month, claim as part of their services to be able to delete negative Google reviews or push them down the page (subordinate). Easy to do when their writing the original, offending reviews. I think many of us would be surprised to learn how prolific these scams are in reality.

  13. Thanks Mike for the article. I have also found this same thing under the name “John doe”. I actually spoke to a sales rep at Google and pointed this out and his response was, “yeah, those look like false reviews and should be removed.” Problem was he told me that they can not manually remove these and they are dependent upon the algorithm to remove these. My question is if these are brought to the attention of Google why can they not manually remove the ones that are obviously false? Thanks again for the articles.

    1. @Kenny
      Great question.

      Google is an engineering company that focuses on huge scale data and computational issues and NOT end user support. Any problem “worth their attention” has to be big and worth solving with an algo.

      Customer service has never been one of those. In fact it is antithetical to their DNA and they would rather shunt folks off to the forums than put a human on solving small, individual problems. A corollary to that is that often times they don’t even build administrative tools to allow an Adword rep or anyone short of an engineer to quickly and easily mark this information as inappropriate for the Places index… so either the algo catches it or it doesn’t get dealt with.

      Or the problem gets such high public visibility that a group of engineers tasked with dealing with high profile problems, take them down.

      I am seeing some early indications that this attitude is changing (at least in Local) and that Google is slowly building admin tools that allow for non-engineers inside google to either pull these fix these sorts of problems or authorize their fix via a volunteer. These fixes starting to creep into the basic business data and but have not yet made it the review arena. If Google commits to this course and scales the human element, applies their productive thinking to solving these “edge cases” they might just start looking at these types of issues as an opportunity rather than a cost.

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