The use of fake online reviews is a widespread problem on Internet, particularly on sites designed to make money or attract customers. Because of these sites’ ability to capture information wholesale, many companies rely on these to create a more positive reputation for their business. This allows them to build a reputation for providing honest feedback about their products, services, and business model. However, because of the prevalence of these websites, human reviewers are now rare, and the information provided by these review bots is often inaccurate, misleading, or out-of-date.
Many fake online reviews are hurting Australian website, business owners and consumers. The ACCC reported that as many as three quarters of social media users say they often head over and read online reviews before making a purchase for a product or service.
Recently, the Council of Small Business dealt with a particular case were a union attempted to harm a legitimate business through the use of negative online reviews.
Cheif executive offer Peter Strong said, “It does happen”
Business owners can make a complaint about a fake or destructive review to the ACCC and Penalties of more than $1 million can be enforced.
Accoring to a newley published economic study fake reviews are going to be responsible for $1.2 billion of Australian ecommerce purchases made in 2021.
Reported by CHEQ
CHEQ also stated online reviews will also directly impact e-commerce sales in the following countries :
- US $28 billion
- Canada $2.3 billion
- Japan $6.4 billion
- UK $5 billion
Most legitimate review websites require a user to register and provide honest feedback for each product or service they review. Sites that do not require user registration or provide review badges cannot be used to pull up fake positive reviews on websites. If you are asked to register to become a “good reviewer” or to submit your URL so that the site can promote itself, it is most likely a scam. These five-star rated FTC websites actually require a user to register under their real name and email address, which further protect the consumer from being victimised by spammers.
Because many consumers are wary of posting their negative reviews online, business owners often turn to using third-party websites to do so. However, using these sites does not stop negative reviews from being posted on the internet. Since consumers have the option of posting their feedback in an anonymous form where other consumers can’t see them, negative reviews continue to flood the internet. Websites that provide the option of posting anonymously do not stop this problem, so business owners need to be even more careful to weed out the bad ones.
Yelp is one of the most popular and effective places for consumers to post their reviews on local businesses. Business owners who want to rank highly on the yelp rankings need to make sure that their business has positive reviews posted on yelp, otherwise they run the risk of missing out on customers. To make this task more difficult for spammers, most legitimate yelp review websites require at least a one-star rating to be eligible for listing on the search engine. For example, if a business has only one star, it cannot be listed on yelp.
Another way to identify fraudulent reviews is by looking into the review policy of the website itself. Many review policy statements on various websites outline the different ways that consumers can leave feedback without being considered a fraudulent review. For example, some sites outline that a consumer may leave an honest review, but the business will then fix any problems related to the service provided. Others detail the different ways that legitimate complaints about the service can be filed with the website.
One of the best ways to spot fake online reviews is to look at the search engine’s page rank. The higher the page rank of a website, the more credible it is. If consumers see that a website has a high page rank, they are more likely to trust it because it is more likely that other consumers would also view it favorably. However, if consumers see that the page rank is low, they are likely to disregard the site because they do not see it as credible.
There are a few ways to know if a review site is providing truthful information. Look for legitimate complaints on the website itself or on forums and discussion boards associated with that website. If consumers have a good experience, they will not post negative feedback. Also, if a person is promoting a business, but they are posting negative feedback, they may be trying to get more customers. For this reason, it is important to only look at the most positive reviews when investigating a review site.