The fake independent review websites

Laird Reviews:

There is this website, lairdreviews.com, which claims to be an independent lairdship review site whose stated mission is “to provide independent reviews and  opinions on as many different products as possible in each class we examine”. The organisation behind it is allegedly “Simply Reviews”, “a new consumer review  resource based in Aberdeen and founded in January 2007”. For some strange reason – although “Simply Reviews” purports to have been “prompted by the alarming number of impersonal, outdated, tasteless and obviously  superficial review sites for gift products” – so far they have only managed to publish one single website and that is – surprise, surprise – the laird reviews site. What did they do in the years between 2007 and 2012, you may ask yourself? Perhaps we should ask the partners, “John Dixon” and “Suzanne Friend” – if only they could be found. But lo and behold, the only “John Dixon” found in search engines is located in the USA and “Suzanne Friend” has left no trace what so ever on the world wide web. Quite peculiar for partners whose aim it is to provide independent reviews of as many different products as possible. Should they not strive for visibility rather than obscurity? And where is their phone number?

Let us have a closer look at their website then, shall we:

Not only do the main posts on this website ooze of your typical Highland Titles / Glencoe Estates propaganda, but the comment section contains more of the same, e.g. where a “random” commenter eagerly points out that the Lord Lyon has no authority over lairdship schemes. Very independent indeed.

Also, Highland Titles receive the best reviews of the lot. No critical questions about the bad publicity they have received, actually no mention at all of anything amiss. Everything from website design to speed of delivery is nothing short of fantastic – it really ‘doesn’t get any better’. We guess the Bevises just could not help themselves… again.

Unsurprisingly, on the product comparison page Highland Titles score max on all criteria, whereas none of their competitors receive any score at all – on any points. Oh well, we will give them credit for fantasy but not for subtlety.

The above mentioned site is one of the most recent Bevis family fake review websites, but there have been others along the way. If you know of any such websites currently in existence, we would be happy to add it to this article.

Highland Conservations:

A reader has tipped us about another fake independent review website: Highland Conservations.

The purported goal of Higland Conservations is “to educate and inform in all matters concerning conservation projects across the UK!” What a lovely sentiment. However, when you look more closely at their website, there is positive mention of Highland Titles in almost every post, e.g. have a look at this:

“Highland Titles can now sell small plots to hundreds of customers across the world, along with their titles. This ensures that the land can never be purchased by some corporate building company and end up becoming just another housing estate. Not only does it ensure the protection of the land, but once again it installs a greater sense of pride and well-being into their customers, and they will feel that they are taking part in something worthwhile and that they are making a difference for the land of Scotland. Over the last year Highland Titles has been involved with the Glen Etive and Glen Fyne SPA for Golden Eagles. This is an organisation who supports the sanctuary of Golden Eagles, who are of high European importance. Highland Titles purchased land within the Glen Etive and Glyne Fyne Special Protection Area, which enabled them to help in the protection of Scotland’s iconic bird of prey.”

Sounds like the familiar propaganda of a family we know? (Please also note their claim “Highland Titles purchased land…” – an outright falsehood as proven otherwise on our website. You may not say that you have purchased land when all you have acquired is a one-year lease – if that…)

Also check out this posting, where the ‘indepent’ information website encourages you to nominate footpaths on the Tulloch Estate among the ‘nation’s favourite walks’. The cheek.

Or this posting, where Highland Titles continue the misrepresentation that they are somehow associated with the official Jubilee Woods Project.

See the comment section below for more examples of fake websites.

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Discussion

11 thoughts on “The fake independent review websites

  1. Also worth a look is the popular “Friends of Glencoe” Facebook group.

    Quoting from the page title: “The friends of Glencoe was set up in 1996 by a group of friends and walking companions who have long been involved with Glencoe and its conservation.”

    Nearly 4,000 ‘Likes’ after only 6 months.

    And 11 links to (or outright plugs for) Highland Titles so far including, for example:

    April 24th – Lord Morgan Spurlock with Highland Titles
    June 4th – A Laird of Glencoe
    July 2nd – Now Is the Time To Do It! Become a Lord, Laird or Lady…
    August 1st – Become a Lord, Laird or Lady…
    August 18th – It’s official. I am now a Lord. Please address me as such. Courtesy of Highlandtitles.com.
    September 24th – A Walk in the woods with Highland Titles

    But much less obvious than previous Bevis efforts. The plugs are subtly interleaved among large numbers of photos and stories ‘Shared’ from real Glencoe organizations, which give the page a very plausible appearance.

    Less credible is that (to date) almost all the ‘Shares’ and posts are generic. None of the “group of friends and walking companions” has ever identified themselves; there has never been any chatter between them; no posts from real Facebook users saying, “Hey, Peter. Great to run into you and Ed on Bidean the other day.”

    Nothing to suggest there are real people behind this at all except an uncaptioned photo under Founders which could have been taken from anywhere on the web. I’m sure they’ll rectify this any day now.

    (And as their profile picture/logo they simply use an “I love Glencoe, Ohio” trucker hat nicked off zazzle.com with the OHIO crudely photoshopped out.)

    I doubt anyone in Glencoe itself has heard of this Friends of Glencoe, despite them having “long been involved with Glencoe and its conservation.”

    Although the name does have some history. It was a former name of the (legitimate) Glencoe & Glen Etive Community Company. The Bevis page has even borrowed the Community Company’s postcode, PH49 4HX.

    This misrepresentation is an express violation of Facebook’s terms and conditions, and they do have procedures for dealing with this. Maybe worth a complaint?

    Posted by ILovePeterBevis | September 30, 2012, 10:43 am
    • Oh, Bevis, you beauty. I love you more than ever.

      I’ve traced the fake Founders photo.

      It’s stolen from the blog of the Cults Hillwalking Club, taken on the terrace of the Glen Clova Hotel, 11th April 2010.

      What’s so cute is that Bevis has flipped the photo left-to-right so it wouldn’t match against any existing photos. But once you notice the t-shirt logo is backwards the truth is quickly uncovered.

      Expect Friends of Glencoe to replace this photo as soon as they become aware they’ve been rumbled.

      But let’s take a moment now to bow our heads and remember it as it was:

      Complain to FB now, and refer to this URL!

      Posted by ILovePeterBevis | September 30, 2012, 2:51 pm
  2. Well done there ILPB. nice bit of investigation work, and yes totally hilarious.

    Yup it will no doubt vanish as soon as they read this. Is this yet another violation of intellectual property rights? Have you contacted the Cults Hillwalking Club and asked if they have given permission to use the image?

    FB will definitely want to know about the intellectual property rights violation if there has been one, I think they only allow a few then remove the site.

    Posted by Eagle Eye | October 1, 2012, 11:02 am
  3. There is another clue in the URL you go to when you click the link to the Friends Of Glencoe page from the Highland Titles Facebook page likes section.

    http://www.facebook.com/scottishhighlandtitles#!/FriendsOfGlencoe

    Why would they not just get their own page? Why would they feel the need to get Highland Titles to set one up for them LOL

    Highland Titles’ Facebook URL is http://www.facebook.com/scottishhighlandtitles

    Posted by Eagle Eye | October 1, 2012, 10:40 pm
    • Eagle Eye,

      Thanks for that. Just tried it.

      Unfortunately this link works equally well:

      http://www.facebook.com/Microsoft#!/FriendsOfGlencoe

      I think the bit before the #!/ just indicates to Facebook the referring page or something like that.

      Regarding your previous post, yes this is likely an IP rights violation. And FB does delete the accounts of repeat infringers, but doesn’t detail specific limits. I believe that Friends of Glencoe has previously been caught out stealing the work of a professional photographer. With the Founders photo and the zazzle.com “I love Glencoe, Ohio” hat they may be sailing close to the wind.

      Also the stolen photo captioned Founders clearly violates the following (as does just about every piece of descriptive text on the page, and its name!):

      http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

      “10. You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, >>>misleading<<<, malicious, or discriminatory." (my emphasis)

      Posted by ILovePeterBevis | October 2, 2012, 9:27 am
  4. Your are quite right ILPB …. good nick by btw LOL. Yes the URL does appear to refer to the refering page.

    The page certainly appears to be misleading, I can’t think of any residents of Glencoe that would mention Highland Titles in a positive light once never mind repeatedly.Highland Titles Glencoe Estates (sic) have nothing to do with Glencoe and have certainly never done any conservation work of any kind in Glencoe.

    Posted by Eagle Eye | October 2, 2012, 6:59 pm
  5. Would I be correct in saying that all of the organasations mentioned on the Highland Conservations website are charities, with the exeptions of Scottish National Heritage which is government funded, and both of Peter Bevis’ private companies, Highland Titles and the Scottish Woodland Alliance?

    Which would mean that both of the Peter Bevis companies are the only ones which cannot have their accounts examined in any way, and are are totally unaccountable.

    It would seem that it is very unusual for UK conservation organisations to not be properly registered UK charities ….. unless of course they have someting to hide and don’t want anybody having access to their accounts!

    Posted by Eagle Eye | October 14, 2012, 7:12 pm
  6. I see from the Scots-Titles website that the lairdreviews.com website has been pulled and all that is left is an empty blog. It is still available (for the moment) in Google cache, but you’ll need to be quick as Bevis has a reputation for covering his tracks when caught out.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:umbEFF3SCbIJ:www.lairdreviews.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    The evidence offered on page 73 of the Scottish Highland Titles No longer trading Forum linking the site to the Bevis family is compelling.

    Posted by Piet B S Jerver | October 23, 2013, 10:58 am
  7. lairdreviews.com the fake review website under the control of Highland Titles seems to have gone again. For a while it was displaying a notice which said the account had been suspended. It is now an empty website with no content and a message informing visitors that the server is undergoing maintenance.

    The maintenance message is certainly a lie, some of the 980 other websites using the same server sharing the same ip address 198.136.54.48 are working fine.

    Posted by Scots Title Scams | February 20, 2014, 10:16 pm

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