Online reviews have proven to be critical in influencing customer perception of brands and products. Third party endorsements are nothing new in the marketing world, but in an age when anonymity is king, it’s easier than ever for trolls and competitors to mar a reputation without batting an eye.
Worse yet, there are individuals out there who are willing to concoct false reviews for only a few dollars apiece. This is damaging to those customers who are genuinely trying to leave feedback about your brand and deters from the overall value of a star rating.
Online mega retailer, Amazon, has taken a stand to combat against these phony reviewers in hopes of maintaining the authenticity that many buyers rely on when making purchasing decisions.
Obviously, the practice of false reviews is unethical and discouraged, no matter what the review site, and there are some obvious tells that indicate a review shouldn’t be trusted:
Signs a review might be false:
Look for repetition - If you keep seeing similar phrases come up, proceed with caution. Given, some consistency should be expected, however, if the format remains nearly identical, raise the red flag.
No other reviews - Check out the source of the review. Do they review other businesses? Are they reviewing only a certain type of business?
Use of brand language - Do they talk like a human, or do they sound like they’re spouting marketing verbiage? If you catch some very specific brand identifiers, the reviewer might have some more intimate knowledge of the brand than the average customer.
Duplication - If this is a multi-location brand, are there near identical reviews for other markets? True, this one takes a little due diligence, and chances are you would have seen the other red flags before you get to this level of research.
What you can do if you spot a fake review on a page: Do the community and all other honest reviewers a favor and flag it! If you suspect a review to be false on one of your own pages, be sure to tread lightly and take the conversation offline to avoid a potentially nasty public interchange.