Show the world you're honest and you can prove it.
Joining Ethicas® is fast and simple.
Keeping your Ethicas® badge is also easy if you abide by our Code of Ethics
If your business breaks the Code of Ethics and it's verified by our ethics committee, then depending on the severity of the breach, your certification will be suspended or cancelled.
Ethicas® works because we will not accept unethical behaviour.
This gives our certified businesses the recognition they deserve for being honest and delivering on their marketing promises. It also allows their potential customers to engage with them, knowing that they are dealing with a company whose ethics have been verified.
Customer reviews and testimonials are a good way to build credibility and trust.
The problem is, they are so easy to fake which takes credibility away from the genuine reviews. Not to mention the fact that a potential customer would not know the difference between a real review and a fake one.
Have you ever seen a negative review posted on a company website?
We haven’t. Customer reviews and testimonials have no credibility or value unless they are independently verified.
It has become common for some businesses to get positive reviews from family and friends with some even going as far as to create their own fake accounts just to leave themselves 5 Star reviews.
There are now even organisations offering reviews for as little as $3 with some offering monthly plans with a set number of “positive reviews” per month.
As more and more consumers rely on reviews to influence their purchasing decisions, it is no surprise that we are seeing more manipulation of those reviews, often by the company themselves. Businesses are attempting to hide genuine bad reviews from real people when in reality, the business is actually providing a poor service or product.
Late 2017, a business that managed an apartment complex, was found guilty of "Review Manipulation" because they removed all negative reviews from their social media and business pages.
Another case, also in late 2017, saw the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission successfully take a well known building company to court for manipulating reviews on a review website they ran, pretending to be independent. The company at fault was fined $380,000.
As part of being an Ethicas®certified business, we will verify all your Ethicas®submitted reviews and testimonials.
Once they have been checked for authenticity, you can display them on your own website as "Ethicas® Verified" however you must also link it back to the original review submitted on www.ethicas.global
So we know that fake reviews and review manipulation have an impact on consumers, but what about business who look after their customers?
We have seen countless examples of genuinely great businesses with nothing but years of happy customers and ethical trading under their belts, getting their Genuine 5 Star ratings obliterated almost overnight because people have created or purchased fake 1 Star reviews.
While it is virtually impossible to put a price on the loss of business these fake reviews cause, their “cost” goes beyond money. It is just devastating to that business who has spent many years building their reputation, only to have it destroyed over something as easy to falsify as a bad review.
This also has a negative effect on consumers . It can cause a prospective client to “pass” on an ethical business due to its’ fake negative reviews and quite often, they end up going with a business that’s hiding their real negative reviews.
The end result? Both consumer and company get burnt. The only person who wins in this scenario is the business that is being dishonest!
A not so pleasant trend we have recently been alerted to is that of fake review extortion. We have seen cases where business owners have received phone calls telling them if they don't pay a certain amount of money per month, the company calling will place hundreds of negative reviews online about their business and destroy their reputation and potentially their entire livelihood.
More recently we have seen cases where business owners have recieved phone calls telling them if they don't pay X amount of money per month, they will place hundereds of negative reviews online about their business and destroy their reputation online.
Case 1 - Negative Review Extortion Attempt January 2018
An Electrical Contractor received a call from a man with a heavy accent who demanded to be paid $250AUD per month or he and his “friends” would leave bad reviews about his company on Google.
Case 2 - Extortion Renovation Business
A Renovation company owner who had their vehicle sign badged with company details, started to receive very aggressive text messages (SMS) from an unknown number stating tat they will “destroy” their business online unless they are paid $1,000.
Case 3 - Florist
A local florist, who had been in business for 20+ years, took a lot of pride in their 5 star rating on Google. In this case the vast majority of reviews were genuine, from customers who had been with the business as repeat clients over many years.
Overnight their long-standing 5 star rating dropped to 3 stars after a number of completely fake 1 star reviews were left on the Google business page.
Further investigation found that the accounts used to create the 1 star reviews, had been created that day and only had a couple of reviews, all 1 star and all within hours of each other.
Case 4 - Massage Therapist
In this case, a 1 star review was left, claiming to have used the businesses services multiple times and claiming they have never been happy with the treatment. The reviewer blamed the business for massive staff turn over and lack of experienced staff and then went on over several paragraphs, to promote another massage business.
Investigation into the review found the reviewer was a real person and had never been a customer of the massage therapist they had reviewed. Based on the reviewers profile, there was found to be a possible connection to the owners of the business that they were promoting in the negative review.
Shortly after launching Ethicas® Global, we received a 1 star review on Facebook.
It is still there as a classic demonstration of a totally fake review.
Why? Well the most obvious answer is, Ethicas had only just launched in Australia at that time and had no contact or presence outside Australia, yet the reviewer was from China…
Another indicator of a completely fake review is the fact that there is absolutely no activity on this account at all. Of course we can take into account Facebook privacy settings but even if the activity is blocked within those privacy settings, you would still be able to see the profile image, backdrop images etc.
The fact we can see the location and where the individual studied also indicates they simply do not have any other information on their profile, not that they are hidden with privacy settings.
As an Ethicas® certified business you are automatically submitted into the Ethicas® business directory. This is the only online business directory that potential customers can trust. When these potential customers are searching for a business like yours, they can shop with confidence as they can trust all the businesses in the Ethicas® business directory. It’s great for SEO also as you will get a powerful backlink.
When the time comes to sell your business, you can also sell your Ethicas® Certification as an asset of your business. Imagine the value of a 10 year Ethicas® badge!
The new owner will have to agree to the same code of ethics and live by it or else they may lose it but taking on a business with a guaranteed track record of excellence mitigates a huge amount of risk for a potential buyer.
When you join Ethicas®,you will create a profile page about your business and be given a few lines of code to insert on the home page of your website. This code will display the Ethicas® badge and will be linked back to your profile page on the Ethicas® website.
You must put this badge on the home page of your website.
The badge will provide a link to your profile page on the Ethicas® Global website where your clients can leave a review about your business. There are no anonymous reviews on Ethicas®. Reviews will only be display after they have been verified.
If you receive a negative review, it will be investigated by the ethics committee to determine if the negative review is substantiated or not. You will be contacted by an Ethicas® investigator to hear your side of the story. All negative reviews must be substantiated or dismissed.
If the complaint is dismissed then all records of the complaint will be removed. We don’t publish any anonymous or unverified complaints or reviews.
If the negative review is substantiated, then the ethics committee will decide on either suspension of your account for minor breaches or cancellation of your membership for more serious breaches such as providing misleading information or unethical marketing practices.
The Ethics Committee is made up of five independent members from the Legal, Marketing and Business community.
The decision of the ethics committee is final.
Our badge is more than just a logo. It’s a testament to your commitment to ethical business marketing practice.
The badge must be placed on your website as it’s also a portal to your Ethicas® profile page where clients can leave reviews about your business.
Showing the badge is stating loud and clear that you’re honest, you’re ethical and you can prove it.
The badge is prohibited from being copied or duplicated in any way. Use of the badge is permitted only for autherised certified businesses via the Ethicas® supplied code, Ethicas®, the logo and badge, are registered trademarks of Ethicas® Global