BUSTED -- New York Cracks Down on 19 Companies for Posting Fake Online Reviews
Bad service is one thing but writing a fake review online, now that will cost you. On Monday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced it had snared and fined 19 companies for writing fake reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch.
In the most comprehensive crackdown to date on deceptive reviews on the internet, the Attorney General’s office set up a fake yogurt shop in Brooklyn, New York, and sought help from firms that specialize in boosting online search results to combat negative reviews.
Through the course of its undercover investigation (Operation Clean Turf), they found that companies used IP spoofing techniques to flood the Internet with fake consumer reviews, otherwise known as “astroturfing.” The companies that posted the reviews solicited freelance writers, some of whom were in the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Eastern Europe, to write the reviews and then hid their identities by creating fake online profiles.
“This investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution,” said Schneiderman. “And companies that continue to engage in these practices should take note: Astroturfing is the 21st century’s version of false advertising, and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it,” he warned.
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Astroturfing – yes, there’s a name for it – is the practice of preparing or disseminating a false or deceptive review. In recent years, the creation of fake reviews has become wildly popular with many SEO firms conducting the “blackhat” practice for clients in industries from local pizza shops to well-known corporations. This tactic is used to increase the reputation of a brand as well as increase sales.
Schneiderman said the 19 firms collectively agreed to pay more than $350,000 in fines and stop posting fake reviews for violating New York laws against false advertising and deceptive business practices. The 19 companies busted include Zamdel Inc.; XVIO Inc.; Laser Cosmetica; U.S. Coachways Inc.; and Swam Media Group.
Health Catalyst: An agile approach to healthcare data
Healthcare Catalyst is quite literally a healthcare providers’ catalyst for change when it comes to their measurable, data-informed improvement in analytics, software and services.
Founded in 2008 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Health Catalyst is dedicated to enabling health care organisations to build a healthcare-specific, open, flexible, and scalable data platform and fully integrated suite of analytics applications.
This enables health system partners, including Northwell Health in New York which serves a population of 11 million, to realise measurable value within months. “Our customers have recognised the potential to use data, to meaningfully improve their clinical, financial and operational business performance outcomes,” said Mike Doyle, Chief Customer Officer.
Formed by a group of healthcare veterans – with a quest to develop a data warehouse that could handle the complexities unique to healthcare data – they revolutionised the clinical process models and use of analytics and discovered the solution now known as Adaptive Data Architecture, which is agile, flexible and can be implemented in a matter of weeks compared to a matter of years.
Today, Health Catalyst helps clinicians in more than 250 hospitals that care for more than 100 million patients each year.
Health Catalyst offers a solution in three parts:
Data Operating System
Cloud-based DOS is a healthcare-specific, open, flexible, and scalable that provides customers a single environment to integrate and organise data.
Analytics applications build on top of the data platform and allow customers to make measurable clinical, financial and operational improvements.
World-class team of analytics and domain experts leverage technology to help customers shorten time-to-value and achieve sustainable, measurable improvements.
The fully integrated data platform and suite of analytics applications helped clients during the pandemic, in ways even Health Catalyst could never have imagined. Health Catalyst offered products and services to support customers’ agile response to the pandemic in four phases:
“By having the data operating system, our clients were able to take advantage of the integrated source of data to meet challenges that they were facing in their local geographies due to the pandemic in ways that we could never even have predicted,” said Doyle.
Doyle highlighted Health Catalyst’s Value Architecture group, which helps the company ensure that its technology and expertise are delivering measurable and meaningful value to our clients. “I think another key differentiator is our open platform that our clients are able to use to accelerate their own integration of data, but it is customisable, configurable in ways that makes it unique for them in ways other cookie cutter analytics just can’t match.
“We like to start every discussion by listening and understanding how we can help our customers avoid making mistakes and getting the most out of their investment in data.”
Speaking about their partnership with Northwell, Doyle said: “We're very grateful for this partnership and want to thank these visionary leaders who are able to envision a future using data that is light years beyond what we can think of today.”