(Self-Convert from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlIOqypvT-g)
How low are you willing to stoop to gain a competitive business advantage?
In my Topic 3 Reflection, I raised the issue of negative posts circulating on the internet affecting our online image. Be it true or false. In this post, I shall escalate the issue into a business context. Specifically against competitors.
From 1999 -2006. Whole Foods Market Inc. CEO John Mackey, attacked rival company Wild Oats Market Inc. on internet financial forums under the alias rahodeb. He commented that the company’s stocks were overpriced and predicted its fall into bankruptcy. In February 2007, Whole Foods announced its intention to buy Whole Oats.
According to this news report, Uber employees are accused of booking and cancelling rides of their competitor; Lyft. In an effort to sabotage their business.
This thread on Amazon forum discusses about what to do if your competitor leaves you fake reviews.
Business can employ ‘dirty tactics’ such as false reviews on social media platforms
Sites such as Google and Amazon has policies regarding false reviews. However, proving that negative reviews are intentional acts of sabotage is an uphill task and takes time and effort.
Possible ‘review sabotage’ through Facebook, notice the profile picture of the reviewer is pure black
Enough about slandering competitors, how about false positive reviews about your own company? This video shows how easy it is to buy positive reviews.
(Source : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y0pYUdfGiw)
I would like to input my thoughts on this issue. Ethically and professionally, false reviews are wrong. But what if the reviews were true? Maybe highlight your business strength or emphasize the weaknesses of your competitors? Is it considered ethical then? Politicians have been doing it for decades, emphasizing their opponents incompetencies and stating how their policies are better. So why not businesses? As long as it is factually correct.
I would like to end of the post with the words of Otto Berman, “It’s Nothing personal, it’s just business”.
msnbc.com. (2016). Whole Foods CEO’s anonymous online life. [online] Available at: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/19718742/ns/business-us_business/t/whole-foods-ceos-anonymous-online-life/#.WCV-T_p97IV [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Khaw, C. (2016). Uber accused of booking 5,560 fake Lyft rides. [online] The Verge. Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2014/8/12/5994077/uber-cancellation-accusations [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Kilduff, G., Galinsky, A., Gallo, E. and Reade, J. (2016). Whatever It Takes to Win: Rivalry Increases Unethical Behavior.
Tom Fanelli. (2016). Evil Competitors are Trying to Sabotage Your SEO Using Negative SEO. [online] Available at: http://www.tomfanelli.com/evil-competitors-are-trying-to-sabotage-your-website-using-negative-seo/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Fink, E. (2016). Uber-nasty? Staff submits 5,560 fake ride requests. [online] CNNMoney. Available at: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/11/technology/uber-fake-ride-requests-lyft/index.html [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Goodwin, D., DiSilvestro, A., Agrawal, H., Litsa, T. and Litsa, T. (2016). Google Warns SEO & Businesses to Avoid Fake Reviews | Search Engine Watch. [online] Searchenginewatch.com. Available at: https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2241393/google-warns-seo-businesses-to-avoid-fake-reviews [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].