Article

Trust and transparency - tackling fake reviews head-on

Trustpilot's Peter Mulhmann discusses the rise in fake online reviews, and the company's commitment to

It’s all kicking off across the pond. In New York, 19 companies have been caught paying for fake reviews, and have been prosecuted alongside a number of ‘reputation-enhancement’ agencies that helped them post misleading reviews online. Operation Clear Turf even saw a fake yoghurt shop set up in Brooklyn to help expose unethical practice, and those involved have been fined a total of $350,000 (about £220,000).

 

So, how long before the problem hits the UK and the rest of Europe? In truth, fake reviews aren’t a new problem anywhere in the world – with eCommerce set to grow exponentially in the coming years, the opportunity for web businesses to make a fast buck using sophisticated methods of fraud is on the rise. Gartner recently released a report – ‘The Consequence of Fake Fans, Likes and Reviews’ – that says 10 to 15 per cent of all online customer reviews will be fake by 2014. 

 

Hundreds of positive reviews of your products or service may seem attractive at first, but this can be a dangerous game to play. It’s simply bad business and provides customers and prospects with misleading examples of their brand experiences.  

 

Negative reviews are a fact of life; no matter how efficient your organisation, the chances are that one is going to come your way at some point. But don’t fret when it does – the presence of negative reviews can actually add credibility for your company. An apparently squeaky-clean business will always raise a few eyebrows, as the modern consumer is shrewd enough to know that nobody’s perfect.

 

In New York, the attorney general has said that fake online reviews – or ‘astroturfing’, as they’re calling it – “is the 21st Century’s version of false advertising and prosecutors have many tools at their disposal to put an end to it”. While the UK authorities are yet to put similar measures in place, here at Trustpilot we’re taking our own steps to tackle immoral eCommerce conduct.

 

Our quality assurance initiative includes the introduction of more vigilant monitoring capabilities to actively seek-out fake reviews and fraudulent reviewers, in order to enforce high quality standards globally. In the first six months of 2013, we removed 40,000 reviews and blocked 25,000 users, and are now calling on the rest of the industry to follow suit.

 

Online reviews are vital in providing a customer-to-business feedback loop, allowing businesses to improve operations and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. Opening transparent communications with your customers in this way can make people more comfortable buying from you, and the right online review platform can bridge the gap.

 

The big question for consumers is whether they can still trust what they read online, and the answer is yes. Even if Gartner’s predictions come true, that still leaves a vast majority of real reviews to consult as part of your purchase journey. While the powers-that-be can help by tackling the problem head-on, it will be almost impossible to completely eradicate fake reviews, so consumers must be alert when making a decision – think twice about that shop in Winchester that has a host of five-star reviews from customers in Bangladesh.

 

We’re in the business of trust and believe in the power of authentic reviews to shape a better online retail experience for all consumers, which is why it’s essential everyone works hard to stay one step ahead of the rise in fake reviews.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Amazon is the new Google for Product Search

Amazon is the new Google for Product Search

Amazon has become the top place consumers go on the Internet to search for products. In a Raymond James study published in early 2017, 52% of people said that Amazon is now their first choice for product searches. Here’s how you can get to the top of Amazon’s results and stay relevant

Brian Beck
Brian Beck 21 November 2017
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
3 Social Media Trends to Follow in 2018

3 Social Media Trends to Follow in 2018

Discover three big trends that will have the impact on social media in 2018 - from ephemeral content, to influencer marketing and augmented reality.

John Siebert
John Siebert 15 November 2017
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of traditional outreach methods to get in touch with targeted buyers or sellers.Here are some of the best and fastest growing global B2B platforms that are helping thousands of businesses in the world to grow and reach their international and local clients.

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more