During the last couple of years, the popularity and impact of online reviews have grown considerably. This is quite understandable, given the fact that 68% of millennials trust online reviews more than they trust traditional television advertisements.
However, this great increase in popularity has encouraged multiple business owners to purchase fake positive reviews. In the long run, they believe that this will increase the popularity and profitability of their business.
Unfortunately, some are choosing other practices, which include writing negative reviews for competitors. As you would surmise, this looks like a desperate urge to steal the competition’s customers.
In the long run, organic reviews will always win, considering the fact that their authenticity can often be seen from a mile away be a reader. To help put the market of fake reviews better into perspective, the folks behind WebsiteBuilder.org, have compiled a great infographic that summarizes some of the numbers associated with this practice.
Research has shown that 27% of people will only trust online reviews if they are sure that they are authentic.
The size of the fake review market is constantly growing. Statistics show that up to 30% of online reviews may be fake. After all, 20% of the reviews that have been published on Yelp to this day are also not authentic.
Customer psychology analysis also shows that internet consumers have developed a sixth sense for determining which reviews are fake, and which are authentic.
Case Study: Using Negative Reviews To Hurt Competitors
Don’t believe this is a real issue? Here’s a case study that will help you better grasp how this shady tactic is used in the real world.
The well-known Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, recently sued another company for the sum of $310,000. The case was built on proof that the ‘other’ company may have been involved in facilitating the posting of negative reviews on the online marketplace.
Very few people are aware of this, but posting negative reviews to drive competition away is actually an illegal business practice, not just an ethical problem. So far, New York regulators cracking down on the fake reviews market have settled with over 19 companies. These companies have been hit with fines exceeding $350,000 after they were found guilty of encouraging and posting negative reviews on competitor websites and product listings.
Be Smart With Your Own Reviews
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, it is important for businesses throughout the world to think twice before paying for either positive or negative review. In the long run, chances are that they will be caught and that users will begin questioning the authenticity of the reviews, especially if they seem fabricated to the naked eye.
To help avoid issues like these, one of the best practices is to offer better services and greater quality products to their customers. This will directly encourage the posting of positive reviews.
There is nothing wrong with offering incentives either. In the long run, customer satisfaction is what really matters, and one of the main factors which can help drive a business forward.
Courtesy of: Website Builder.org
This article originally appeared in Return On Now Blog.