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What You Need To Know About Fake Online Reviews

It is no surprise that consumers are growing more aware of fake product reviews. Amazon recently announced they are filing a lawsuit against thousands of unknown people who wrote fake online reviews for products they never received. With online commerce growing and evolving, fake online reviews are becoming more and more of a concern.

Online reputation is an important aspect of any business because consumers place a lot of trust and value on reviews when shopping. Consumers want the best of the best, for the best price. We all want to find the best rated item, for the lowest cost. But consumers aren't stupid. They are concerned with and able to sniff out fraudulent reviews. 

Here are some statistics that underline the problem of fake online reviews
  • 71% of people read consumer reviews before making a purchase.
  • 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers have questioned the trustworthiness of reviews across the web. 
  • 48% of U.S. consumers are concerned that one or more reviews they come across are fake.
  • 31% of U.S. consumers are concerned that businesses directly ask for positive reviews. 

These numbers reveal that not only are fake reviews a problem but that the problem is familiar to consumers. 7/10 people have had doubts about what they are reading but they are forced to try and make an educated guess about which product they should move forward with purchasing. 48% of consumers believe some reviews are fake but they move on and make purchases because it is such a common event. E-commerce gurus know that good reviews impact search ratings on major e-commerce platforms, which is why they are motivated to generate reviews as soon as their product hits the market. If you look at the problem from the bigger picture, you have to realize that fake reviews are made for volume and star rating.‚Äč

They are two common types of fake reviews:
  • The 5-star review with no content, its only purposes to increase the number of reviews.
  • The 5-star reviews with content, designed to try and build consumer confidence.

Consumers are becoming more discerning when evaluating reviews for authenticity. There are distinct aspects about fake product reviews that consumers can look for to help with choosing a more qualified product online.
  • The shorter the review, the more likely it is from someone who does not care one way or the other. They are doing it just to get another 5-star review to the tally.
  • Generally fake reviews compensate for their lack of experience using a product by emphasizing their satisfaction with the product and how they rave about it to their friends. Be wary of reviews that do not describe a product, but take the time to talk all about how happy they are.
  • Real reviewers are not trying to build rapport with you, fake reviewers are. They will use inside jokes that are extreme to convey a point unrelated to the product. They want to put the focus on something other than the product. Look for reviews that use metaphors and figurative language.
Not only are fake product reviews growing more and more ineffective to consumers, but more e-commerce platforms are implementing new protocols to reduce the incidence of fake reviews. Getting consumers to share their experience online is getting easier and easier as people spend more time interacting with Internet portals. Another thing to consider is that most people who leave good reviews, are doing it to help other consumers help make a good decision on a product. Here are some innovative techniques that e-commerce experts are using to promote genuine product reviews. 
  • Verification: Companies are vertifying actual payment before automating any email survey. This ensures that the clients have an experience with the product.
  • Product Inserts: People love opening packages and seeing all the nifty contents inside. It feels like Christmas! Include a thank you, a URL to provide feedback and a method of contact for questions or concerns.
  • Follow Up Emails: Use clever titles to increase open rate, and then appeal to people willing to help other people make better product decisions by writing a detailed review.

Regardless of what you are selling, the people buying your products are willing and capable of sharing their experience. Truly discovering your customer base and understanding their motivations will go a lot further for your business than hatching plans to fill sites with inauthentic reviews. The more time and energy you spend getting to really know and understand your customer, the more you will be able to inspire positive reviews for your product. And the more you will learn from those reviews.

Curtis Boyd is the active CEO/Founder of Future Solutions Media - a Los Angeles based Digital Agency that specializes in Online Reputation Management.