The seedy underbelly of online reviews — especially companies paying for higher reviews — is a source of frequent speculation but rarely comes into the public eye. But according to the New York Times, New York regulators are cracking down on 19 businesses, forcing them to pay a total of $350,000 in fines for “astro-turfing” their pages with fake reviews. The year-long investigation uncovered a paid-for user review market and some good old fashioned bribery — a sign that some companies will go underground to boost their online  ratings.

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Story posted at: nytimes.com

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