Abigail / Published on February 22, 2013
Today we’re looking at the dangers of posting fake reviews on consumer websites.
A recent article in the Guardian
reported that some online companies hire computer science students from abroad to post a myriad of hyper-positive reviews about the high-quality service provided by the firm, in a bid to either offset overly negative reviews from genuine customers, or to raise the profile of their company.
The Guardian Money investigation uncovered fake reviews written by computer science specialists in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, where people will write and send fake reviews for a relatively low fee.
One reason why fake reviewing is popular amongst computer science undergraduates is that they are well-versed in understanding how computers work. They can create a unique name, email and internet provider address for each review, making it look as though it has been posted in the UK and fooling controls on review sites.
Businesses start to look a little suspicious if their reviews are a confusing combination of either full-on praise or downright negative criticism.
Of course, as well as being misleading, not to mention confusing for actual customers looking on the company website, it’s also illegal and any company found to be condoning the practice of posting fake reviews could be subject to investigation by Trading Standards or the Office of Fair Trading.
Here are some of the ways to spot fake reviews:
1. Avoid reviews that skip over details and concentrate on how amazing the customer experience was. Be more trustful of reviews that provide in-depth descriptions about the quality of a product or service.
2. If you’re on a review website, click on the user’s profile to see how many other reviews they’ve written. On-review accounts tend to err on the fake side.
3. Be aware of reviews written in poor English. Whilst genuine customers may overlook the odd spelling and grammatical error, it’s easy to tell which ones sound as if they have been translated from a foreign language. Those written in well-constructed and grammatical English are likely to be genuine.
So if you’re looking to drum up positive feedback to improve your seller reputation, focus more on reaching out to potential customers, whether by offering a more personalised service, by always ensuring your goods are sent out on time and in good condition, or by self-promoting via the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t run the risk of being caught posting fake reviews. It’s not good business practice and you may end up losing your livelihood and permanently damaging your reputation
as a result.