"Thank you, Ms. Dean, for all of your work--a great service to the public."
FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra
Fake Review Watch is dedicated to exposing the massive corruption of online consumer review platforms with fake reviews and the culpability of the big tech companies in facilitating and covering up this fraud. The magnitude of the fraud is alarming, deceiving millions of consumers and creating unfair competition for thousands of honest businesses.
Fake Review Watch is run by Kay Dean, a former federal criminal investigator. Kay is an expert in researching, analyzing, and documenting online review fraud. She has identified tens of thousands of fake reviews across Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other platforms, and has compiled evidence of review fraud conducted by thousands of businesses. Kay has uncovered three prominent aspects of online review fraud: international and domestic brokers who sell reviews, businesses who trade reviews with each other, and networks organized by search engine optimization (SEO) companies or online marketers.
Online review fraud has become a popular method of false advertising in the 21st Century, and the failure of big tech, regulators, and law enforcement to take any serious action is eroding business ethics and harming the marketplace. A special focus of Kay's research has been on the role and culpability of the big tech companies in facilitating and concealing this fraud.
Kay's multi-year investigation has culminated in the founding of Fake Review Watch and the launch of an eponymous YouTube channel.
Kay presented at a hearing of the Federal Trade Commission in February 2024. Her research has been the focus of fake review stories appearing on the following: NPR, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's national evening news, Washington Post, Mashable, NBC affiliates in Los Angeles, Indianapolis and the Bay Area (2), Vice News, Australian 9 News Melbourne, Time, Fox 26 Houston, the NBC Today show, Australia's A Current Affair, Medscape, CTV News Toronto, InvestigateTV, Norwegian TV2, ABC affiliate KTNV Las Vegas, SFGATE, the Epoch Times, Fox 4 Kansas City, News 12 New Jersey, The New York Times, WPTV West Palm Beach, and Fox 9 Minneapolis. She has been an expert contributor to stories by Swiss Radio and TV, Norwegian TV 2, Fox 13 Tampa Bay, InvestigateTV, Australian ABC Radio, Axios, CTV News Toronto, CBS Austin, Texas, CQ Researcher, Fox 5 New York, Frommer's Podcast, the Washington Post, Fox 26 Houston, Consumer Reports stories airing across the country on stations such as WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Stuph Files, Arizona's Family, CBC Radio, Restaurant Business, Dubai Eye radio, CNBC and CityNews Toronto. Her comments have been quoted in USA Today. She has authored op-eds published in CalMatters and the Toronto Star (June 2021 and June 2022).
Photo by Lance Yamamoto/SFGATE