PowerReviews & Verifying Consumer Reviews for Authenticity

Last Updated August 1, 2022

PowerReviews has always placed significant emphasis on ensuring reviews published using our technology are authentic and presented in a way that accurately demonstrates their value to a potential online purchase decision. This article explains several features available on the PowerReviews platform that will assist you with verifying whether a reviewer actually purchased the service or product, and/or disclosing whether a reviewer was incentivized to provide a review.  

Please note that PowerReviews offers the below insights for informational purposes only. 

EU Omnibus Directive

The EU Omnibus Directive, also known as the Enforcement and Modernization Directive 2019/2161 (the “Directive”), came into effect in January 2020.  However, EU member states had until May 28, 2022, to bring the Directive into action, and therefore companies had until May 28, 2022 to bring their covered marketing activities into compliance.  The goal of the Directive is to provide enhanced consumer protections when making online purchases, such identifying the review as submitted by a verified purchaser and shielding consumers from misleading and fake reviews posted on ecommerce sites.

Product Review Verification

With transparency to consumers being a key mandate of the Directive, Business to Consumer (B2C) companies will need to verify that the product reviews posted on their eCommerce website are genuine reviews submitted by consumers that have purchased or used their product. B2C companies may also be required to provide the details of their verification process to consumers.

As a ratings and reviews SaaS service provider, PowerReviews assists our clients in collecting reviews in the following ways:

  1. We solicit reviews from consumers after they have purchased a product from our clients’ website by sending a post-purchase email (or SMS) that is based on transaction data from our clients.
  2. We collect reviews from consumers that visit your website and use the “Write A Review” option on a product display page (PDP).

For more information on how PowerReviews collects product reviews from consumers, see our Review Collection Documentation.

Collecting Product Reviews from Consumers

Based on transaction data provided by a client, our clients can send post-purchase emails to consumers requesting that they leave a rating and review for the product/service recently purchased. 

Post-purchase emails can be sent to consumers following a purchase made either online or in-store.  The email links the consumer to the Write A Review form which includes a parameter that informs PowerReviews that the review is being written by a consumer that actually purchased the item. This review will be badged as submitted by a “Verified Buyer”.

In addition to the post-purchase solicitation process, consumers may submit a review when visiting our clients’ eCommerce sites by clicking on the Write A Review button.  Reviews submitted through this process are organically collected, however, the review may or may not be written by a consumer that actually purchased or used the product. Since PowerReviews is unable to authenticate the exact nature of this consumer’s experience with the product, we will not identify and badge this review as a “Verified Buyer” review (more on badges below).

Verifying Review Authenticity

PowerReviews takes the authenticity of review content extremely seriously.  As consumers ourselves who rely on reviews and other user-generated content to inform purchase decisions, the belief that shoppers should be able to trust the reviews they read online is a fundamental principle of PowerReviews’ business philosophy. While ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the B2C business to verify the authenticity and validity of any content published on its own website, the PowerReviews’ services include several tools and safeguards to assist our clients in this process. 

Fraud Detection

IP Address Monitoring

We recommend – as part of our best practice implementation – that any client who uses our services, allow PowerReviews to view any user’s IP address who submits a review.   When a client sends a user’s IP address as part of the review, PowerReviews will be able to monitor IP address activity to flag and/or block any IPs that have any history of providing fraudulent or illegitimate reviews or other user-generated content across any company using our platform.

Mass advertising, trolling, and attempts at automated content submission are all sources of inauthentic content. PowerReviews also offers tools that help flag and block reviews deemed inauthentic by leveraging a JavaScript-based device reputation technology.  

Duplicate Review Check

PowerReviews employs human moderation to verify the relevancy, appropriateness, and authenticity of each review for our clients.  As a part of this verification process, duplicate reviews are also identified and unpublished from consumer view. For more information on the PowerReviews moderation process see our Moderation Guidelines.

Tracking Review Source

In addition to monitoring reviews for fraudulent behavior, PowerReviews also provides our clients with the tools to track the source of any specific review, without identifying the specific consumer. 

With proper configuration, PowerReviews clients are able to accurately identify reviews that have been submitted by:

  • a consumer that has purchased the product
  • a consumer that has verified their email address
  • a staff member of the client’s organization
  • a consumer that was incentivized to write the review (e.g. giveaway or contest)
  • a consumer that wrote a review after receiving a free product sample

Tracking how each review was sourced allows B2C businesses to provide valuable information to consumers about the source of each review they read. This information offers important context for consumers as they make purchase decisions.

Providing Consumer Transparency within Review Displays

To ensure that consumers are readily able to access information about the nature of a given review, PowerReviews provides badges and disclosure statements alongside each review displayed using our review display technology.  You can read more about review disclosures here: consumer transparency.

Review Badging

PowerReviews employs the following badges on reviews displayed on our clients’ websites based on the source of that review.

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Verified Buyer

A Verified Buyer (example of this badge above) is an individual who has purchased the reviewed product directly from the company displaying the review. The review was submitted through a specific process that tracks purchase history. This designation is intended to clearly identify consumers who are submitting reviews of products that they own.

Verified Reviewer

A Verified Reviewer (example of this badge above) is an individual who has confirmed their email address through our verification process. This designation is intended to clearly identify consumers who are submitting reviews using a valid email address.  

Staff Reviewer

A Staff Reviewer (example of this badge above) is an individual for whom PowerReviews has matched their email address domain to the domain of the B2C business selling the product. This badge is used to make sure that consumers know if/when the person posting a review has a potential affiliation to the B2C business selling the product/service.  

Review Disclosures

Our technology also tags reviews with specific disclosure statements in the following scenarios:

Sampled Product Review

A review that was written by a consumer after receiving a free product sample will display the disclosure in the example below:

Incentivized Review

A review that was written by a consumer who was incentivized to write a review. Examples of such incentives include an entry into a contest or sweepstakes, see the example below:

We hope the above was informative, but it is not legal advice, and you should consult your own legal counsel regarding any questions on the EU Omnibus Directive.