A Texas marketing company that was accused of registering more than 2,000 fake accounts to write car dealer reviews on Edmunds.com has agreed to a ban on using the site.
That’s part of a recently announced settlement between Humankind Design and Edmunds.com, which also calls for Humankind to pay a portion of Edmunds.com’s legal fees and turn over information about all accounts and reviews that it submitted to the popular car-shopping website.
In a statement, Edmunds.com CEO Seth Berkowitz called the settlement a victory for car shoppers and car dealers.
“This is undoubtedly a victory not just for the millions of online users who rely on dealership reviews and ratings from fellow car shoppers, but also for the thousands of honest dealers who embrace authentic customer feedback. We will continue to hand screen every review submitted to our site, and we will not hesitate to push back against anyone who tries to compromise the terms of our user agreements.”
Edmunds.com sued Humankind Design in July after allegedly finding the 2,000+ accounts and 76 reviews that all appeared to be coming from the same source.
Humankind was running a review posting service via GlowingReviews.co that promised to submit reviews to Edmunds.com and 15 other sites (such as Google+, Yelp, Yahoo Local and the like).
The company took GlowingReviews.co offline shortly after news of the lawsuit first broke. Today, that domain — which is still owned by the same company — now serves as an affiliate redirect to a site promoting an automated review posting service called “Local Business Listing Robot.”