How Falsified Online Reviews Are Hurting Your Business

Nearly 90% of consumers actively read reviews to help them decide if they’re going to buy from you or not.

Because of this, online reviews are becoming increasingly more important for the success of a business, no matter the industry.

According to Bright Local’s 2014 Consumer Review Survey, an astonishing 88% of the population now reads online reviews when making buying decisions. Out of those, 90% will base their decision on the online reviews they have read.

Consumers give the same weight to an online review that they would give to a recommendation or criticism from a friend. Knowing this, it’s no wonder companies and individuals are tempted to post phony reviews to boost their reputation or hurt competitors.

“Astroturfing” is the practice of masking the authors of reviews or messages to make them appear to be from real and unaffiliated customers.

Have you astroturfed? Whether you have or not, it’s important to know that writing fake reviews can lead to big negative consequences.

Amazon just announced that they’re suing more than 1,000 people for astroturfing. They’re taking it seriously because fake reviews defeat the purpose of having reviews. Consumers want to be able to trust what they’re reading.

Have you heard of the eBay ID Verify Program? eBay tries to avoid the issue Amazon is currently experiencing by having buyers and sellers prove their identity. On eBay, if you see someone is ID Verified, you can trust they actually bought that product or that they’re a dependable seller.

Misleading consumers can ruin your reputation.

As a business, don’t try to counteract negative reviews by falsifying positive ones. That’s treating symptoms and avoiding the actual illness. Take your negative reviews seriously, address the problems and diffuse the situation in whatever way is appropriate. As you address the issues and address the areas in your business that are causing them, you’ll begin to see less of them.   

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