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Local Platform Uses Stock Photo and Fake Review, Claiming to be Real Businessman from Couva

In the digital age, online platforms have become an essential tool for businesses to connect with potential customers and increase their visibility. Local online platforms, in particular, play a vital role in supporting the growth of small businesses within their communities.

However, when these platforms resort to deceitful practices, they not only lose credibility but also damage the trust of consumers in the market. One such platform, named “TT Directory,” owned by Paradox Studios Limited, recently came under fire for using a stock photo and fake review to mislead users.

On their About page, TT Directory featured a Shutterstock royalty-free image of an Indian man folding his arms, accompanied by a quote that read, “One Of The Best Choices I’ve Made For My Business.” The review attributed the quote to a supposed real businessman from Couva named Jason Ramlogan, who claimed to have used TT Directory’s services to gain leads for his business. However, investigations revealed that this individual and his testimonial were entirely fabricated.

Using stock images in itself is not a crime, as many platforms employ them to enhance their visual appeal. However, misrepresenting a stock photo as a real local person who used their services is both unethical and deceitful. By providing a fake name and testimonial, TT Directory deliberately sought to mislead potential customers and boost their own credibility falsely.

This kind of deceptive marketing undermines the integrity of the platform and raises serious concerns about the authenticity of its claims. TT Directory’s social media pages boldly proclaim, “Your trusted companion for discovering and connecting with local businesses in Trinidad & Tobago!” However, their use of a fabricated review clearly demonstrates a lack of transparency and calls into question the validity of their platform.

The consequences of such misleading practices extend beyond the immediate impact on the platform itself. When users discover that a local online platform has resorted to deceitful tactics, it erodes their trust not only in that particular platform but also in the broader online platform ecosystem. This loss of trust can have far-reaching effects, as potential customers may become hesitant to engage with other local online platforms, fearing they may encounter similar untrustworthy practices.

Local online platforms are crucial for fostering innovation, economic growth, and community development. However, it is imperative that these online platforms operate with integrity, honesty, and transparency. Misleading practices such as using stock photos and fake reviews jeopardize the reputation of the entire online platform community and hinder its ability to provide genuine value to both businesses and customers.

In order to maintain trust in the market, local online platforms must prioritize ethical conduct and strive to build genuine connections with their users. Transparency should be at the core of their operations, ensuring that all claims made are backed by real experiences and verifiable testimonials. By embracing these principles, online platforms can create a positive and trustworthy environment that benefits not only their own business but also the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In conclusion, the recent case of TT Directory using a stock photo and a fabricated testimonial from a supposed local businessman is a clear example of deceptive marketing. Local platforms have a responsibility to operate with integrity and transparency, as their actions have a direct impact on the trust of consumers in the online platform community as a whole. By avoiding misleading practices and prioritizing ethical conduct, online platforms can build credibility and establish themselves as reliable partners for businesses and customers alike.

UPDATE – 10-07-2023

TT Directory has silently removed the fake businessman and review from their About page without a response or reason after being exposed.


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