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February 2022 Edition


The value of real reviews from real customers

by Dawn Varga

February 23, 2022

Does your company have consumer reviews and good ratings on the major review sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp? If so, are those reviews and ratings helping your business, or are they a deterrent? 

Well, if you have recent positive reviews and a decent quantity of them (especially when compared to your competition), then you would most likely answer that they are helping your business. We all know that online reviews are an important part of the business's online reputation. Statistics show that 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase (GE Capital 2013) and nearly 9 out of 10 consumers consult reviews online before making a purchase (Trust Pilot 2020).

Unfortunately, because of the importance of reviews, there are some seedy characters out there that are in the "business" of writing FAKE reviews for businesses. It can be discouraging for businesses to know that their competition may be paying for FAKE reviews.... especially when they so work hard to satisfy their customers and successfully gather their positive online recommendations.

While it may seem enticing to take the "easy" way out and pay for FAKE reviews, there are several reasons why you should think twice about doing so. Here are just a few:

  • First, you will be caught! Most review sites have both algorithms and actual people that review submissions on a regular basis. You don't want to be the business that has a FAKE reviews warning posted on their listing for all to see.
  • Second, consumers are savvier online than ever before. They will be able to determine if reviews are fake just by looking at some key indicators such as the name or avatar of the reviewer or the locations of other reviews they have written, just to mention a couple.
  • Third, you are spending unneccessary money on something that you can do legitimately. Obtaining REAL reviews from REAL customers can be a great value to prospective customers, your employees, and your business.
So, what is the value of REAL reviews from REAL customers? Here are some of the best reasons to focus on your online reputation, continue to provide great customer service, and gather REAL online reviews from your customers:
  • Positive online reviews are great referrals for consumers researching to do business with a company like yours.
  • Having recent reviews and good ratings will improve your position in search results, moving you higher up on the search results page.
  • Negative online reviews can serve as a "wake up call" for issues needing improvement at your business that you may not have been aware of, allowing you to improve your internal processes.
  • Having some negative reviews (which you will get from time-to-time) shows consumers that you are an authentic business -- no one is perfect!
  • Properly responding to both positive and negative reviews will demonstrate that you value and care about your customers' feedback.

Every business or organization should implement a reputation management program that focuses on customer satisfaction, whether it’s handled internally or by a reputation management service provider hired to assist them. Monitor what is being said daily. Respond quickly and properly. Ask your customer for REAL and authentic feedback and amend your processes when needed. Only then can you reap the rewards of REAL reviews!

Partner with OnTarget Digital Services in 2022! Request your FREE Reputation Report and give us a call or text at (951) 394-1952 to set up a quick conversation about how we can help your business succeed online.


Millions of those 5-star online reviews are fake; Here's how to spot them

by Bob Segall

February 15, 2022

When hiring a contractor, going out to eat, buying a computer or selecting a doctor, the first stop for millions of Americans is to check online reviews. Nearly 90% of consumers consult those reviews before making a purchase, according to a recent study commissioned by TrustPilot.

But a 13News investigation shows many of the 5-star ratings you see online are not what they appear.

For example, 13 Investigates examined an Indianapolis locksmith service that displays nothing but 5-star reviews on Google. Of those 147 glowing reviews, a reviewer named James loved the "Fantastic customer service." Krissy found the company "Professional and friendly!" and Noel declared "Best locksmith in town."

Before you get too impressed, take a closer look at the reviewers’ profile photos. Using free online image search tools, 13 Investigates discovered they are celebrities.

The picture of Noel is actually actor and singer Darren Criss. James used a photo of Akshay Kumar and Radhika Apte, famous actors in India. And Krissy chose a flattering picture of model and Miss Vietnam winner Jennifer Pham.

Also suspicious, some of the reviewers seem to have an unusually difficult time keeping track of their keys.

13 Investigates discovered Krissy allegedly locked herself out of her car seven times in a single month – resulting in 5-star reviews for seven different locksmiths across five separate states. Another reviewer named Jane wrote a dozen 5-star reviews for locksmiths, claiming she too was rescued by locksmiths all over the country after locking herself out of her car 12 times in the same month.

Reviews that include celebrity photos and that are written by people who post lots of 5-star reviews for a specific industry within a short period of time show classic warning signs of potential fraud.

The truth is, fake reviews are all over the internet – not just on Google, but on Facebook, Yelp, TrustPilot, Amazon and other popular websites. Fraudulent reviews have become a big industry meant to fool consumers, and most of us have no idea how to tell the difference between reviews that are real and those that are not.

While many online reviews are fake, their consequences can be very real and even devastating. 


Cranberry Sauce


View Recipe on Butter with a side of Bread

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies made with pudding mix, mint extract & chocolate chips. Lovely mint cookie recipe perfect for those who love mint chip ice cream! Works perfectly for St. Patrick’s Day! 

Total Time: 20 minutes   |   Servings: 3 dozen


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix 3.4 oz
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp mint extract
  • 3 drops blue coloring + 10-15 drops green coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  1. Cream together sugar and butter. Add egg, sour cream and pudding mix. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt & baking soda. Incorporate flour mixture into the pudding mixture and mix until well combined. Add mint extract and food coloring until desired color is achieved.
  2. Add in chocolate chips. *I used 3/4 cup chocolate chunks, 3/4 cup regular chocolate chips and 1/2 cup Andes baking bits. Any combination is wonderful, but note that while the Andes mint baking pieces add an incredible flavor, they kind of disappear in the cookies. So add them in addition to the 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, if you opt to put them in!
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and enjoy!

Tina and Dawn OnTarget

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OnTarget Digital Services, LLC

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Phone: (951) 394-1952