How to Protect Your Business From Fake Reviews
The use of false reviews, either to create the illusion of a quality product or to artificially discredit a competitor, is a growing problem in the eCommerce industry. How can you spot false reviews and deal with them?
In this day and age, any entrepreneur worth their salt is aware of the role of online reviews in the number of sales that a business enjoys and, by extension, the growth of that business. Online reviews can make or break a business, especially when the vast majority of savvy online buyers use product reviews as a point of reference through which they can evaluate an item despite not being able to do so in person. The experience of other buyers gives prospective buyers an idea of what the actual product is like.
But, therein lies a problem. Online reviews are user-generated content, which means that they can easily be influenced by companies, whether it’s in paying review companies to make false positive claims on their products or to make false negative claims on the products of their competitors. This is a serious problem. In a study that evaluated about 2.7 million online reviews, 39% of these online reviews were found to be unreliable. This indicates that fake reviews are a real threat, not just to legitimate businesses, but also to the credibility of the eCommerce industry itself.
How can you protect your business from the influence of fake reviews?
Use A Reviewer Verification System
Most fake reviews are made by people who haven’t even purchased the product. If a random person starts talking badly about your product and they aren’t a customer, that in itself invalidates the review. Unfortunately, not all prospective buyers take the time to analyse this. In some systems, only those who have actually purchased the product are given the option to leave a review. This not only ensures the validity of the review, but it also encourages trust among your customers.
Reward Honest Content
While it’s impossible to completely filter out fake reviews, you can instead opt to display review authenticity badges for reviews that are made by real buyers. You can automate this process by filtering out non-buyers, reviews that do not necessarily speak about the product itself, etc. However, you shouldn’t use this as a means to filter out genuine negative reviews.
Respond To Negative Reviews
Genuine negative reviews are not necessarily bad. In fact, negative reviews can be used as a way to build engagement with your customers by addressing pain points and questions that they might have. This not only shows that you care about what they think, but that you also aim to give them a satisfactory experience.
Report Fake Reviews To The FTC
We shouldn’t let review manipulators get away with it. While it’s rather easy to solve things on your end, it’s also important to help level the playing field by reporting false positive reviews. If you suspect that a particular business is buying reviews, consider filing a complaint with the FTC to help the FTC detect and investigate businesses that engage in shady business practices.
In the eCommerce industry, reputations hold a premium that could spell success or disaster for a business. They hold an undeniable weight in the purchase decision of a prospective buyer, and it’s important to be able to provide customers with the unembellished truth.