Earlier this week, there was a lot of media buzz after Amazon.com filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 people for writing fake product reviews on their website. The fake reviewers were hired via Fiverr.com, a website where people perform odd jobs for $5 each. In at least one case, a fake reviewer went so far as to have an empty envelope delivered to him in order to trick Amazon into marking his review as verified.
This isn’t the first time Amazon has taken a strong stance against fake reviews. Earlier this year, the eCommerce giant sued four websites for selling fake, positive reviews. And the issue isn’t specific to the US or Amazon.com: in June, the UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) found examples of some businesses paying for people to write fake reviews.
Reviews are a powerful tool to help customers make informed business decisions and for brands and retailers to identify ways to better serve their customers. But fake reviews break down trust and have the potential to tarnish a brand’s image. This lawsuit is a good reminder to brands and retailers that it’s crucial to have measures in place to ensure review content is 100% authentic and fraud-free.
Don’t Be Scared of Negative Reviews
It’s no secret that positive reviews can be an extremely valuable tool to help drive sales. If I read about someone’s positive experience with a particular product, it increases my confidence in purchasing that product. However, negative reviews are equally powerful, a fact that was obviously not recognized by the sellers who solicited these fake, positive reviews. PowerReviews research found that 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews. And our recent research with Northwestern University found that a product is most likely to be purchased if its average star rating falls between 4.2-4.5 stars.
Perfect ratings are perceived as too good to be true. Allowing negative reviews to be displayed on your site builds trust with your shoppers and helps you identify ways to better serve your customers.
Keep Your Review Content Authentic
The authenticity of reviews is what makes them so powerful. That’s why it’s key to protect your brand from fake reviews. The first step is to ask your ratings and reviews provider what measures they have in place to ensure review content is authentic. For example, at PowerReviews, each and every piece of content passes through advanced fraud detection technology, and then is reviewed by our human moderation team to ensure it’s authentic and fraud free. What we don’t do, however, is edit the reviews. Reviews are displayed as they are written, allowing the true voice of the consumer to shine through.
Our review collection process also enables companies to collect reviews from verified purchasers and then badges those reviews as “verified buyers.” PowerReviews also allows brands and retailers to indicate whether a reviewer received a sample or if a review originated on another site.
Consumers trust reviews. And it’s the responsibility of brands and retailers to provide authentic content that consumers can trust. Aligning with the right reviews technology partner can help you not only drive traffic and sales, but also build and preserve trust with shoppers.