Bogus trampoline review sites left buyers up in the air

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When shopping for a big-ticket item, you probably do some research. Whether talking to friends, perusing a store, or checking online reviews, you want to get the most for your money. You might even look for reviews or certifications from independent review organizations to help make your decision.

What if you found out that some of those “independent” review organizations were actually owned by the company whose products they were promoting? That’s just the case with a recent FTC settlement announced today involving the owners of several trampoline companies. The problem? The owners also ran several trampoline review websites that claimed to be independent organizations and featured product reviews supposedly written by impartial experts. The truth is, the owners were running these websites, writing the reviews, and using them to promote their own products.

The owners created realistic websites and logos for the made-up review organizations, with names like “Trampoline Safety of America,” the “Bureau of Trampoline Review,” and “Top Trampoline Review.” They even posted “seals of approvals” from the fake websites, featured alongside the trampolines on their sales websites.

It can be hard sometimes to tell if an organization is truly independent and unbiased. When searching for reviews online, look for a wide variety of websites. Be skeptical. And if you find yourself on a review site that you’ve never heard of before, you may want to consider broadening your search to ensure that the reviews are, in fact, “independent.” 

For more, watch our video on online reviews and recommendations.

 

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Health & Fitness

Comments

Great information. Thank you for providing.

The "OnGuardOnline.gov/shopping" at the end of the video got me to "Page Not Found" on the website. I shortened it to "OnGuardOnline.gov" and got the general page.

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