Friendswood Company Accused Of Posting Fake Car Dealership Reviews
by: David Pitman, July 23, 2013 2:07:00 pm
Like most websites that accept consumer reviews, Edmunds.com has users agree to what are known as TOS, or Terms of Service.
"When you join our website, you agree to only post reviews about your own personal experiences, and you're reporting experiences that actually happened."
That's Ken Levin. He's the executive vice president and general counsel of Edmunds.com.
In a lawsuit filed this morning in Galveston, Levin claims that the reputation management firm Humankind in Friendswood created almost 2200 fake members to boost the reviews and ratings of two dozen car dealerships scattered around the country.
"So every time Humankind registered on our website and then attempted to post a review, they were violating that agreement."
Justin Anderson is the owner of Humankind, the parent company of Glowing Reviews.com.
"As far as we know, all of the reviews came from actual customers of these dealerships. And it definitely is a grey area with whether it violates Edmunds' TOS. Obviously, their interpretation is that violates TOS. Our is that it does not."
Edmunds is seeking an injunction to prevent Humankind from posting any further reviews on its site. It also wants monetary damages for the extra time and effort spent to flag and delete the suspicious reviews. Edmunds says it has alerted other review websites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Google+ to Humankind's activities.