July 20, 2016
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
We all know that companies would prefer to have only good reviews, and that company performance is largely motivated by obtaining such feedback because it helps businesses thrive. Reviews play an important role, as ReviewTrackers.com reports that 85% of consumers read them to determine whether or not local businesses are good or not. However, many people don’t realize just how many fake reviews really exist, posted everywhere from company websites, Google reviews, and social media. In response to the demand for positive reviews, some companies have actually taken to paying for them, and even more have cashed in on the need by creating review mills.
Reviews and testimonials are supposed to help someone make a decision about a company, but it can be tough to trust in these reviews knowing how easy it is for a company to add fake reviews. This leads many to wonder: Is the review I’m reading even real?
For the Users: How to Make Sure You’re Not Falling for Fake Reviews
Fortunately, there are a few different things that users can do to make sure they aren’t falling for reviews that a company paid for or wrote themselves. A few of these tips include:
It’s certainly annoying that consumers have to take these measures to really trust what a company says, but it’s good to know that there are at least options out there that work.
For Businesses: Are Fake Reviews a Bad Idea for Companies?
Believe it or not, some companies have seen value in creating their own reviews because it gets the ball rolling. Sometimes startup businesses need that extra push to get started, and reviews are great ways to make that happen. This then begs the question: As long as the fake reviews stop after one or two, is it okay to give yourself this head start?
Most would say it is unethical, and I would have to agree. There are other ways to start building up your business’s review reputation without creating fake reviews, such as incentivizing writing reviews, streamlining the review process through an email, or simply by offering outstanding goods and services that inspire customers to give positive feedback. By now, many people have review apps, such as Yelp, and are already accustomed to writing reviews for their own benefit. Encouraging customers to talk about their experiences just gives the extra nudge they need.
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