Submission Number: 00003
Received: 8/27/2010 2:34:35 AM
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Reverb Communications Inc.; File No. 0923199
Attachments: No Attachments
This agreement is no more than a slap on the wrist and requirement for "paperwork" for what was literally fraud and deception that continued weeks after it was publicly brought to light, and in fact, multiple people in the discussion forums and comments in gaming and news sites took Reverb's actions as guidance on how they, too, could "game the system" and fraudulently submit reviews, thus exacerbating the problem.
Not only did Reverb and Tracie Snitker do this, they actively promoted this "feature" within their marketing material and contracts, as you can see from a copy of a proposal and their marketing here:
Quite simply, they actively "sold" this "service" knowing that it was a violation of both ethics and consumer trust. They generated direct revenue from this practice. Failing to fine them for their actions leaves the entire settlement toothless.
I fear that if there is no IMMEDIATE financial repercussions for their actions, that this will not truly dissuade them from continuing this practice, nor discourage any of the other people who are using Reverb as inpiration (see link above) to do this themselves.