Sep 26 2013

Fake Reviews Can Mean Real Trouble

New York’s Attorney General has started to get aggressive and go after businesses that put up fake reviews on sites such as Yelp. Calling it a consumer affairs matter, he has reached a settlement with a group of New York businesses that he was able to prove either put their own fake reviews online, or paid third party vendors for the false positive reviews. While he is the only government official taking a stand on this issue right now, he is not the only one fighting fake reviews. Yelp is suing a small law firm for allegedly posting fake reviews itself.

Fake reviews, known as “astroturfing,” are becoming more and more of a problem. The fake reviews hurt consumers who might choose a business based upon Yelp or another review site. However, beyond those victims, the reviews also hurt other businesses who might lose out on customers to the fake reviews. The reviews can also have the effect of hurting potential buyers of the business – looking at reviews of a potential purchase can tell you how popular the store/restaurant is with consumers and whether you can continue to market the brand, or if you would need to completely remarket the enterprise.

Even with these developments, “reputation management” companies will continue to solicit business, and for a small fee, will still flood review sites with positive reviews of your business. However, the New York AG’s office seems intent on continuing his policing efforts. It is also possible that this effort could spread to other states – the national response that this move gets will be telling. Beyond it being a potentially bad business practice, astroturfing may now have real legal consequences. As such, we recommend staying away from the practice.

The Guardian has an article up on how to spot, and avoid, false reviews.

Sep 25 2013

HSBC To Cut Ties to Some Business Banking Clients

Last week, several news outlets broke the story that HSBC has been sending letters to some (but not all) of its business clients announcing that as of November 6, they would no longer have accounts at the bank.  If you have received that letter, we recommend that you begin shifting your banking services over ASAP. We work with a number of bankers and can offer recommendations for new business banks if you need them. Please feel free to contact me directly at for contact information.

Sep 10 2013

Starting Your Own Business

We often get questions regarding starting a new business, when clients want to discuss a variety of issues surrounding the topic. Questions about the type of entity and the documents needed to start the business are only the beginning of the conversation. It’s one that we look forward to having with each of our new clients.

And it is one that we’ll be opening up to a broader audience as well. On September 19, we are proud to present the first in our Starting Your Own Business series of conference calls, on Forming Your Business. Starting at 7PM, I will introduce the series, and kick it off by laying out how to start a business and the different types of entities. I will also talk about agreements and document organization.

This is the first in a series of conference calls, and we are very excited. The call will be recorded and put online as well.

For more information, and to register, please click here.

Sep 04 2013

L’Shana Tova

We want to wish all of our clients and friends a sweet and happy Rosh Hashanah.

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