So you want to start a career by ruining the internet for everybody else. That's fine. But how do you get into paid reviewing? The same way you get into crack orgies and the trunk of somebody's car: Craigslist. Businesses will often post review gigs there, or if you're feeling more proactive you can advertise your own services on places like Fiverr.
But first you're going to need a solid track record of legitimate-looking reviews (usually upwards of 50) attached to whatever social media account you're using, which must also carry a good number of followers. The reviews can't just all be five stars, or else Yelp or Google can tell you're a shill. In short, you need to build up some trust before you betray it for cash. On my two Yelp accounts and my Google account, I'd make sure there were a few hundred varied reviews visible on my profile at any given moment.
But you have to be careful: Yelp protects the identities of its reviewers to the steps of the state Supreme Court if need be, but Amazon will sue the pants off of users posting fake reviews. You basically have to do a few months' worth of unpaid work before you can even start looking for work, which is pretty much the case for all college graduates nowadays.
Only the truly battle-tested can handle the pressure of telling the world you liked the ravioli.
Most sites are seriously clamping down on bogus reviews. Say Sally goes to comment about how great the pizza shop she works at is, but uses her actual Facebook profile to do so -- the one where she lists her place of employment. Google or Yelp will snatch that up immediately. Timeliness is also a factor. If a place is looking iffy, then a bunch of people leave five-star reviews within a day or so of each other, it's pretty obvious what just happened -- that business really got its act together!
But no, it's probably employees being forced to review their own establishment.
Businesses have even tried strong-arming folks into leaving a good review while they're still in the store, a practice Google and TripAdvisor have had to address. One Austin-area storage facility found itself in hot water after a well-known podcaster blew the whistle on their bogus reviews. I worked with two businesses myself who badgered customers for positive reviews in-store, only to find the reviews changed when those customers got home. The manager of a hardware store that hired me begged customers for good online reviews, and they'd smile and nod, then go home to complain about the guy pestering them while they innocently shopped for bolt-cutters and good, strong rope.
A few years ago Google and Yelp just deleted fake reviews or, at worst, banned you. Now, it's getting more serious: Yelp has sued over fake (negative) reviews, and Amazon has actually entered into court battles with over 1,000 different negative reviewers. Even Google, the Thunderdome of review authenticity, finally started cracking down. They use a program called Fakespot (hey, you can use it too!) that can identify fake reviewers with pretty good accuracy and then presumably fire lasers into their eyes.
The end of innocence sounds exactly like the goddamn bed sheet industry going rogue.
In some states, like New York, fake reviews are against the law. One delightful idiot lost about $8,000 reviewing a restaurant that hadn't even opened yet. Luckily, there's still TripAdvisor, where it's insanely easy to post fake anything with zero consequences. But be careful: You might find out (to the tune of a five-figure lawsuit) why it's a bad idea to complain about your hotel online.
Original article and pictures take http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2376-i-get-paid-to-write-fake-reviews-amazon.html site