If the SEO company working for you has ever offered to generate fake reviews of your company or services, my advice would be to hire another company.
Fake reviews has been a problem for legitimate review companies since their inception and have become a nusiance to search engines that aggregate reviews as well like Google.
As most SEOs know, reviews can not only make or break a company and persuade a potential customer into purchasing your product or not, but search engines like Google also use review data to help them determine which companies should be displayed in the search results - and more specifically in the business listings you see to the left of the Google Map on the right side of your page.
This area of the search results is generally called the Google+ Places search results - the Google business listings.
The other problem search engines have with fake reviews is related to user experience. If a user puts faith in a company or product due to fake reviews, the is a chance the user could end up having a bad user experience in the end. In the eyes of the search engines, this type of situation could lead a user into trying out another search engine.
Included in the many ranking factors for Google+ Places listings, is the number and quality of reviews left by customers. Today the Attorney General posted the findings of an investigation they did into 19 online marketing and SEO companies that were offering fake review services to their clients.
NEW YORK -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that 19 companies had agreed to cease their practice of writing fake online reviews for businesses and to pay more than $350,000 in penalties. "Operation Clean Turf," a year-long undercover investigation into the reputation management industry, the manipulation of consumer-review websites, and the practice of astroturfing, found that companies had flooded the Internet with fake consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch.
This is the same kind of scenario that should compel business owners to really do their research when selecting a marketing company or SEO to promote their website. When it comes to SEO, a lot of people get duped and tricked into ranking schemes with false promises and tactics that end up hurting their business and going against the search engine terms and conditions.
Personally and professionally I think it's great that law enforcement is going this far to save the integrity of the market place online, and I hope that business owners and false SEO companies are getting the message.
What is the message?
The message has always been the same: SEO takes time and to do it right, one can't expect results overnight.
If you wish to see the full list of SEO/marketing firms that settled and are being fine, you can follow this link. It would be highly advised that you avoid them as it's clear they'll go to any means to promote their clients.