Can I Pay Influencers to Post Negative Reviews?

October 16, 2018

Can you pay influencers to trash competitors? The short answer: No. The long answer: Case details matter. Let’s take a look at three scenarios.

Online Review Legalities Scenario #1: Influencer Gets Money or Products To Trash A Competing Brand

Word on the curb is that brands are shelling out upwards of $70,000 to high-end social media influencers to post negative reviews of competing products. To be crystal clear: We have no idea if these rumors are true. However, hypothetically speaking, if they are true, then yes, paying someone to disparage a competitor squarely falls into the “unfair and deceptive” marketing box — especially if the influencer has never used the product or lies about their experience.

Online Review Legalities Scenario #2: Influencer Trashes A Brand Without Compensation

Influencers are people, too. And yes, they’re allowed to voice their opinions — good and bad. What they can’t do is purposefully lie about a business or individual. Doing so often amounts to defamation or trade libel, and the penalties can be steep.

Online Review Legalities Scenario #3: Brand Uses Content Mill To Launch A Negative Marketing Campaign

Things aren’t going well. Your business or product isn’t connecting, and clients aren’t posting positive feedback. Sales are slipping. In desperation, you turn to a content mill or service like Fivrr to buy reviews. In fact, you enlist folks to write both positive and negative reviews about competitors.

Believe it or not, the FTC could censure you for both types of reviews. The bottom line: paying for feedback is an FTC unfair and deceptive marketing DON’T!

Click here for an extended list of FTC marketing rules.

Connect With An Internet Law Attorney

The Gordon Law Group works with individuals and businesses on marketing and advertising compliance matters, including online review issues. Additionally, if you need an FTC compliance audit before launching a new promotional campaign, we’ve also got your back! If you’re looking for a rock-solid social media influencer contract, our team can do that, too.

We take pride in offering highly personalized service, and, to state it plainly, our track record is excellent. Plus, we always keep clients’ budgets in mind.

Give us a call today. Let’s chat and determine how we can support you with any marketing-related legal matters.

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