In sports, astroturfing refers to turf on a field that is supposed to resemble real grass. In business, astroturfing refers to the practice of hiding a true source of a message and bias from the public.

What is the Goal of Astroturfing?

It’s an attempt to create a false impression of a company, product, or service. In reality, the support doesn’t exist.

How are Phony Reviews Published?

The fake reviews are usually published by groups, individuals, or companies. The reviews are published online in forums, on a company’s website, via social media, or review sites. The reviews are made by people not sharing their true identities. In 2015, Amazon sued individuals who used Fiverr’s gig market to publish fake Amazon reviews. 

Is Astroturfing the Same as a Negative Review?

No. Astroturfing isn’t the same as a negative review, but the practice can include writing fake negative reviews. A negative review occurs when a person writes unfavorable comments against a company, service, or product. 

Can I Be Sued for Writing a Fake Review?

Yes, a person or company can be sued for writing a fake review.

Can My Company Violate State Law for Astroturfing?

Yes. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, can send a cease and desist order to companies who specialize in writing fake reviews. The FTC may also fine companies who write fake reviews.

Do I Need an Attorney if I am Accused of Astroturfing?

It’s in your best interest to contact an attorney whether you are accused of or a victim of astroturfing.