It’s as old as the hills – from market stalls in ancient Greece to online shops, the technique of drumming up business by getting people to pretend to buy goods in order to encourage others to buy these goods. Or paying people to bad mouth the competition and to rave about certain products.
With the prevalence of online shopping, the reviews and ratings left by previous buyers has a huge influence over consumers’ purchasing decisions. Products on a shopping site are usually listed in price order by customers, and by review ratings, which makes what people say about a product or service extremely important. In fact, the huge majority of consumers trust all the online reviews that they see.
Companies do pay for people, however, to leave fake reviews – either negative reviews of competitor products, or glowing reviews about their own, and they don’t have to pay very much or look very far to find people willing to do this. This particularly happens in markets that are testing out brand new products where there is a lot of competition, and where the company is not yet a big established player. Some even offer refunds or discounts in return for positive reviews.
It doesn’t fall into the category of traditional online crime, but the threat of reputational damage is very high, and so should be taken seriously. How can companies stop rival companies from using such tactics?
Some websites police reviews through using automated algorithms that spot reviews likely to be fake. Other sites such as https://www.fakespot.com allow consumers to check Amazon and other key sites for whether a particular product has attracted fake reviews by inputting the URL of the product. Some review sites will manually verify genuine purchases in response to any complaints.
Regency can give your business guidance on how to spot fake reviews yourself, so that these can be reported to site owners, and additionally, we can perform one-off or regular fake-review sweeps of key product and service sites to identify fake reviews on your behalf, plus gauge the state of your reputation online. There is nothing worse than having your customers be deceived into buying a rival’s inferior product or service.
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