By now most business owners understand the growing significance and impact of online customer reviews, and, if they are wise, they do keep an eye out for comments about their business online, especially when it comes to reviews on sites like Yelp!, Google and Facebook. An oft quoted Zen Desk study found, a little over a year ago, that a whopping 85% of consumers admitted they are influenced by online reviews and a more recent UC Berkeley study found that just a half star increase in a business’ Yelp! rating can add up to 19% more business for companies on the receiving end of a glowing one.
But with an increasing number of review sites appearing, it is almost a given that so are the number of fake reviews. In fact, computer scientists at the University of Chicago estimate that up to 30% of online reviews are actually fake.
Of course the question might be why should you care, especially if a fake review about your company is actually favorable? In fact why not pay one of the many providers on sites like Fivver who specifically offer to write reviews based on your specifications and give your business a bit of an extra boost? However, this IS a bad idea as should your ruse be rumbled the erosion of trust on the part of your customers could cost you a lot more than five bucks.
So how can you, or a consumer, spot a fake review? Here are a few signs that an online review is not quite above board:
Lots of reviews posted in a short period of time. Check the dates of consecutive positive or negative reviews. If they all seem to have been posted within just a few days of one another then there is a very good chance that they are not quite what they seem.
Strange usernames. If a businesses reviews all seem to have been left by people named like “Happyshopper675′ and ‘Happyboi10’ then, once again they are rather suspicious. Most people who do take the time to leave reviews are more than happy to leave their real names – whether theirs is a good or bad opinion – and how many people do you know whose last name is a string of random numbers?
A lack of unique wording. Many of those who sell reviews use the same phrasing over and over again across a number of different review sites. If a review looks suspicious try running a sentence or two through a simple Google search and if the same review has been posted across multiple sites the chances of it being ‘for real’ are significantly reduced.
Overly flowery language. If a review is filled with admissions of extreme satisfaction, or extreme negativity the chances that it’s actually real are significantly decreased. Too many uses of phrases like “absolutely love, love it,” “ridiculous,” “pathetic,” “amazing” are a sign that the review didn’t exactly come from the heart.
A review dated before a product was available. Either the reviewer is a psychic or they were provided with a product free of charge in return for a glowing review. This is a practice that has now been completely outlawed by Amazon, even if a reviewer was upfront about the transaction, but very few other similar sites have yet to follow suit.Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.