Reviews of fast biking routes in Groningen and Drenthe proved to be fake
Groningen and Drenthe used fake reviews to advertise fast biking routes on the website doorfietsroute.nl, Sikkom reported.
The provinces used pictures of people from a model agency for positive reviews of the bike routes. Many of the people whose pictures appeared on the website and reviewed the bike route came from the same commercial modeling agency.
"Of course, I takethe bike; I am an outdoor person," one review by a so-called Bouke van der Veen stated. Sikkom discovered that Van der Veen was a man named Dirk from the modeling agency, echtemensen.nl.
The website has since removed the fake reviews.
The site's spokesperson said that all the reviews were real; only the names were printed incorrectly. "It was a careless mistake," the spokesperson said. "The people in the picture made the statements, but the names do not match. I immediately ordered the names to be removed.
Lawyer Jasper Gevers told Sikkom that it is not illegal what the provinces did, "but it is bizarre and damages the provinces' credibility." The Cabinet will meet next week to discuss a new law that would make using fake reviews illegal.