Coming to terms with fake reviews

Consumers overwhelmingly expect the reviews they peruse on Amazon, Yelp, Google and other review sites to be trustworthy, neutral and objective. But this reasonable expectation is frequently thwarted by the efforts of aggressive marketers who pay third parties to create phony reviews in exchange for compensation or incentivize existing good customers to leave reviews with discounts or free products or services.
These deceptive practices — termed “opinion spam” or “sock puppetry” — are a form of information pollution with multiple victims. Opinion spam blinds the consumer to the truth and poisons the reputation of the review site where the fake review appears. When detected, it may subject the marketer and/or opinion spammer to criminal and civil penalties.
Unfortunately, opinion spam — despite the best efforts of review sites to control it — appears to be a permanent, intractable feature of the e-commerce and local business information ecosystem.
Not that reviews sites aren’t trying. In 2015, Amazon filed a lawsuit against

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Google making renewed effort to help news publishers drive more subscriptions

Google has always been treated by the news industry as a kind of frenemy. Many news organizations have a tortured history with Google, including some who’ve successfully lobbied against Google in Europe. Yet for roughly a decade Google has been trying to help publishers make more money while continuing to try and serve users and its own commercial interests.
Google news-industry outreach has taken multiple forms over the years. For example, in 2009 Google proposed a range of tools and services built around the notion of “micro-payments” to publishers. The proposal included multiple components, including search, e-commerce and advertising for news organizations.
Out of these efforts eventually came Google’s First Click Free program, whereby users could gain access to otherwise subscription-protected news content in search results — with the intention of improving the outlook for subscription revenue, though Google hasn’t uniformly enforced it. Google’s Consumer Surveys provide payments to publishers (take a survey for content access) and so on.
AMP is also

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Labor Day Google doodle marks holiday honoring the American workforce

Google has switched out its usual logo on the U.S. homepage with a Labor Day doodle honoring the American workforce.
The artwork depicts men and women performing industrial trade work and includes a sharing icon. Clicking the doodle leads to a search for “Labor Day.”
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.U.S. Department of Labor
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website, Labor Day was originally celebrated in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, but the first state law making it an official holiday wasn’t passed until five years later in Oregon.
By 1894, more than thirty states had made it a holiday, including the District of Columbia.

Search Engine Land wishes all our readers a

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Guide: Content Marketing Software

This guide from Marketing.AI provides a comparison of available end-to-end content marketing software vendors.
It outlines the key features required to be considered an end-to-end content marketing software vendor and includes a vendor evaluation based on how well they address the standard use case.
Click here to get your copy.
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Amazing Content For Small Businesses: What Does It Really Look Like?

We’re often told to create amazing content because it will naturally benefit us and bring us social shares, new customers, increased visibility, links and more. However, much of the amazing content that gets noticed and mentioned in analyses is from big brands that have the money and resources to hire a pro.
While that’s definitely helpful for anyone who wants to learn more, sometimes it’s nice to look at content that’s created by someone who isn’t a professional content creator and who made it simply to create something useful, rather than for a sales or rankings-driven motive.
Content At Its Best
Let’s take a look at a local small business article that, in my opinion, is everything it should be.
Top 10 Swimming Holes Around Boone NC

I found this piece when I was looking for a nice swimming hole near Boone for my own vacation, and since I’m a jaded marketer who understands that the top results aren’t always the most relevant, I

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Search, Content & Customer Experience – Moving Prospects From Awareness To Action

The past two years have been filled with Google algorithm updates designed to improve the user experience.
The Hummingbird update’s intent was to better understand queries so that users could be directed towards more helpful pages. The Penguin and Panda updates both sought to eliminate low-quality content that managed to work its way to top-ranking positions.
Google’s main aim with these algorithm changes is to help the end user find the best content possible. Content drives online marketing efforts, and the customer experience is key to Google’s success.
The customer experience dictates how customers see a brand and how they feel about it. In fact, CMOs questioned for a February 2015 Duke University survey believed that two of consumers’ top three priorities are superior customer service and a trustworthy relationship.
Content for its own sake is out. Content to improve the experience of customers is in.
Your primary goal in developing your content strategy should be communicating with your customers. That means listening to what they have to

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Graphiq Search: FindTheBest Becomes Knowledge Graph Engine

The world’s most extensive “knowledge graph” may not be at Google. Vertical search site FindTheBest (FTB) has rebranded and relaunched as Graphiq, a data visualization or knowledge graph search engine.
Using a huge volume of data sources, automation and human editorial oversight, the company says that it has created “the world’s deepest and most interconnected Knowledge Graph, featuring 1,000 collections, 1 billion entities, 120 billion attributes, and 25 billion curated relationships.”
Founder Kevin O’Conner told me that FTB’s experience creating roughly 18 distinct search verticals loaded with structured data was the foundation for the new site. There’s considerable sophistication behind the scenes, enabling the new site to dynamically generate 10 billion data visualizations.
Here are a few examples:

While it’s difficult to determine, Graphiq may offer the widest selection of structured data (and associated visualizations) anywhere online. The data and graphics range from international GDP comparisons to healthcare stats to the historical popularity of US baby names and well beyond.
FTB’s original vertical search sites are not being promoted, but they can still be found in

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SPONSOR MESSAGE: Content Creation Guide

According to CMI, 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago — but is that content really making an impact? This Content Creation Guide from Salesforce Pardot provides step-by-step instructions to help you create a top-notch content strategy. You’ll also get access to six marketing templates to guide your content efforts in generating ideas for relevant and effective content based on business goals and tracking success with 14 key content marketing KPIs.
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