Fake Reviews are Bad Business

Looking for a hotel, a restaurant, or perhaps a place to take your car for repairs? Like most people, you probably hop online and pull up a review site such as Yelp, CitySearch, or TripAdvisor to check out the latest reviews and find out which business has the most popularity. This is perfectly normal, but be aware of false reviews populating these sites in order to bolster business marketing.

These days, user reviews are a hot ticket because of the marketing power of word of mouth. People tend to listen to what others have to say and value their opinions above that of advertising. Positive feedback can bolster a business, but negative feedback has the potential to harm a business. Looking at it from the consumer point of view, these recommendations are a great tool for evaluating a product, service, or company. The views of real users should be valuable and trustworthy - except when they are fake.

As we mentioned earlier, negative feedback has the potential to do great harm. This being said, some companies will pay for positive reviews or simple write the review themselves under pseudonyms. It’s against the law, but it hasn’t stopped people from doing it. Fake reviews are starting to be taken more seriously and some companies are getting fined, but it is difficult to detect the fake from the real. There are a few things you can do to keep an eye out and limit fake reviews from being posted.

First off, look at the language. If someone is completely effusive with their praise and there isn’t a single detracting point, chances are you are seeing something that isn’t on the up and up. It’s not common for people to leave overly positive and supportive comments about a product or company. Also, be sure it sounds like something a real person would write and not a marketing robot.

You can also check out the reviewer’s profile. Is this the only review they wrote? Are all the reviews written just as peppy and positive, as if the person has never had a bad experience with anything? Also, be aware of multiple reviews that say the same thing in pretty much the same way.

Fake reviews won’t be going away any time soon, but with a little smarts and some effort, it may be easier to spot them, and limit their visibility on the web.