cashen_sean
Member

This job is definitely against the law, right?

Initially, the client made it sound like they wanted some quick SEO writing done, but after a quick chat it's pretty obvious that they want me to just leave fraudulent reviews on Google.

 

I screenshotted our conversation.

 

Here are the two links from the final message.:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

ACCEPTED SOLUTION


Sean C wrote:

I haven't even accepted the offer. I just wanted to get her to expain exactly what type of work she wanted done.


I saw the chat. She told you clearly and even gave you "if you're not comfortable with this I understand" ways out.

 

That said, yes, jobs like that are not allowed on Upwork because they violate Google's terms of service.


Simply flag the job post as inappropriate.

View solution in original post

9 REPLIES 9
petra_r
Member


Sean C wrote:

Initially, the client made it sound like they wanted some quick SEO writing done, but after a quick chat it's pretty obvious that they want me to just leave fraudulent reviews on Google.

 


The client made it 100% plain what she wants you to do and you kept eagerly agreeing that you're perfectly fine with that? Why did you agree if you know it's a bad idea?

I haven't even accepted the offer. I just wanted to get her to expain exactly what type of work she wanted done.


Sean C wrote:

I haven't even accepted the offer. I just wanted to get her to expain exactly what type of work she wanted done.


I saw the chat. She told you clearly and even gave you "if you're not comfortable with this I understand" ways out.

 

That said, yes, jobs like that are not allowed on Upwork because they violate Google's terms of service.


Simply flag the job post as inappropriate.

I had no intention of doing anything aginst the terms of service or the law. I just wanted to be sure of what she was asking before I decided to do anything about it.

 

She mentioned "reputation management" and "organic reviews" and things like that, which definitely raised red flags. Just wanted to be 100% sure of what she was asking before I reported it. That's all.

 

Like I said, I didn't even accept her offer. I wouldn't risk getting in trouble over a job like this.

 

I'm sure a more experienced freelancer would have been able to know what it was just from reading the job post though.


Sean C wrote:

I had no intention of doing anything aginst the terms of service or the law. I just wanted to be sure of what she was asking before I decided to do anything about it.

 

She mentioned "reputation management" and "organic reviews" and things like that, which definitely raised red flags. Just wanted to be 100% sure of what she was asking before I reported it. That's all.

 

Like I said, I didn't even accept her offer. I wouldn't risk getting in trouble over a job like this.

 

I'm sure a more experienced freelancer would have been able to know what it was just from reading the job post though.


Brief and general explanation:
Various jurisdictional laws (consumer protection/anti-fraud in the US) prohibit "fake reviews" and most platforms that host reviews do also. On review sites, paid reviews are usually banned outright. So definitely a TOS violation for the site and as such for Upwork (because its TOS says "don't do stuff that violates other TOS). Businesses that distribute fake reviews often call their services "reputation management" but so do other businesses that genuinely track a brand's online status. That makes things even more confusing. 


For non-platform reviews like a blog or testimonial, US laws permit you to write about a product or service while receiving some benefit (payment) as long as it is disclosed. This is why you'll see blogs sometimes state that they received a free product to review.

 

Affiliate sites avoid directly violating disclosure laws by doing a long review article featuring several products, all of which are linked to a seller's site. The affiliate discloses that they benefit from the sales of goods through the link but doesn't outright say, "and that's why I'm reviewing these products."  I mention this only because writing "Top 10 X products" is a very common writing assignment and usually accepted as legal. However, writing a specific review of a product that will appear as a review on a platform such as Amazon or Google isn't. 


djondinium
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Sean,

 

I'll send your report to the team for investigation and appropriate actions will be taken according to our internal processes.

 

In the meantime, you might wanna check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs and use the flag option anytime you'd like to report a violation.

 

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Upwork

Thanks Aleksandar.

Would UpWork prefer us to try to gather evidence in cases like this, or just flag it and move on?

Like I said earlier, I was definitely suspisious, but I just wanted to be sure of what she was asking for first.

Last night I made a post on here abiout a client who wanted me to leave fake reviews on Google for two businesses. I never accepted the offer, and after guidance here, I reported it. I also reached out to Google to report to them that someone was attempting to buy fake reviews for their business.

 

This morning I logged in to Upwork to see about 30 messages from the client, which got progressively more crazy. By the end they had screenshots of some of my personal info that they must have dug up somewhere, and were attempting to blackmail me into "taking the report down".

 

I reported all the messages and kindly asked them not to contact me again. Do I need to take any further action?

You can block the client so they can't message you on Upwork any more. Best to avoid any further contact. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.