Brandon J. Huffman quoted on law firms exchanging reviews online
I’ve seen this scenario myself: a lawyer posts on some legal community forum that they would like additional reviews for their services on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Another lawyer offers to do a review for them, if they will return the favor. Before you know it, the entire forum is buzzing with review-exchange-frenzy. This practice is unethical and could land lawyers in legal trouble.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
In addition to violations of Google’s guidelines, quid pro quo attorney review circles may violate attorney ethics rules. According to Gyi Tsakalakis, a digital marketer with a focus on law firms:
Per the ABA Model Rules, with limited exceptions, lawyers aren’t supposed to give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services. The quid pro quo nature of some of these review circles could be construed as a violation of this rule. At the very least, these communications could be interpreted as misleading, which is also prohibited by most states’ rules of professional responsibility.
There also could be legal implications to review swapping. In addition to it being against Google’s guidelines, it could also get you in trouble with the FTC. In an article I wrote on fake reviews earlier this year, Brandon J. Huffman, attorney at Odin Law, mentioned:
The FTC looks at whether you got something of value in exchange for your review. The thing of value is usually cash or a free product of some kind, but the positive review you receive is also something of value. So, this is really no different than a typical paid-for review under the regulations. Businesses would need to disclose that they received a positive review in exchange for their positive review.
You can read the whole thing here.