We've recently reported some techniques you can use to spot fake user reviews. But what about phony blogs? We've spotted scores of faked blogs, usually for weight loss and skin-care products. So how can you protect yourself from being duped? Fortunately, it's pretty easy to spot the red flags in some of these over-the-top dubious blogs.
Here are some of the worst examples. These three blogs touting a "miracle" anti-wrinkle product are using pictures of the same woman with different names.
Here she is as "Sarah Mellars," a 47-year-old mother of three.
Here's our friend again, this time as "Heather," a 46-year-old mother of two.
And here she is yet again as "Jessica," this time a mom of two from Santa Monica.
Here's a different set of pictures, touting a similar miracle skin-care pill.
Here, she's "Carla Wilson" from Woodside New York ("Heather" claims she's from Woodside as well).
Here she's "Julie Letz" fron Florida.
All these sites look slightly different, but they all share the same qualities that should give any reader pause:
Though there's little we can do to get these sites off the web, we can try to expose them. At least one organization is working to help separate the good blogs from the bad. Mommy bloggers have put together an ethics pledge regarding reviews of products and services. Bloggers are invited to take a simple integrity pledge and display a badge on their blog. "Blog with Integrity" explains how it works. So far, more than 1,500 bloggers have taken the pledge.