If you’re running your own business, you’ll understand just how important building and maintaining a good reputation is, whether online or offline. For those of you putting in the hard work in order to achieve fabulous feedback, you may be frustrated to learn that fake reviews are on the up, making all of your hard work seemingly futile. Want to learn more about the troublesome state of fake reviews? Continue reading to find out more.
In recent times, alongside the protection of personal data through the introduction of GDPR, we’ve seen the importance of reviews grow considerably, pushing business owners to deliver outstanding services and customer care, wherever possible. However, this craving for valuable feedback has led to many cunning ways to play the system, creating a network of fake customer reviews. The Washington Post recently reported on the presence of illegitimate reviews on retail giant, Amazon. Despite the company’s claim that 99.9% of their reviews are legitimate, their in-depth investigation found that categories such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers appear to show feedback that violate the company’s prohibition towards paid reviews. With tell-tale signs such as repetitive wording and certain characteristics, there was no doubt that numerous comments had been fabricated.
Now, this may not seem like such a big issue to some, but this fraudulent method has a knock-on effect in a number of ways. More often than not, these reviews are sought out by companies through Facebook pages such as Amazon Review Club and Amazon Reviewers Group, which provide a whole community of users that will leave favourable reviews in return for monetary payment. The sheer volume of reviews for a certain product then rapidly increases its ranking, misleading customers and providing a false sense of trust for those looking to buy genuine, high-quality goods.
To combat this, Amazon often purge the site of such reviews in the hopes that this will leave behind only the real, legitimate posts. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, this crackdown appears to have been counterproductive, with bogus reviewers heading deeper underground onto online communities where the same pay-per-review system operates.
How to spot the fake reviews
Before you start to question absolutely everything you read online and send back your most recent Amazon purchases, spend some time getting clued-up on how to identify the fakes. As this handy article by CNET shows, there are a number of online tools that will help you to sift through the real and not-so-real reviews, allowing you to make wiser purchases. Alternatively, you can look for the giveaway signs when trawling through reviews: bad grammar, mismatching review dates and a lack of coherence should raise the alarm balls and be flagged as potential fake reviews.
If all else fails, the best way to approach product reviews is to take everything with a pinch of salt. If the reviews seem to be a bit too good and ‘salesy’, you might have stumbled across a few fakes; stay sharp and use your common sense where necessary!
If you run your own business and could do with a hand towards brand management, why not contact one of our experienced specialists today.