Reviews shape our opinion in this digital age of today. Customer comments help us obtain an opinion about a product. The chances of you buying something online increases by reading positive comments and reviews from other customers. As time passes by, fake reviews are prevailing every day on online retailers’ websites. It can cause the customers to have a false and misleading opinion about a brand’s products. A group called Which? has claimed that Amazon is using several fake reviews to increase the ratings of some products such as headphones and smartwatches. There is no proof that the person giving the rating has bought or used the product. Amazon had banned paying for reviews because their research showed that customers distrust paid reviews. They claim that they have unpaid reviews on their website now. But the process has just become more secret and hard to track.
Facebook has also seen a jump in the increase of fake accounts. According to Facebook, they have shut down the fake accounts before they had to be reported by other people. Many of the fake reviews are originated from Facebook, where the sellers provide the reviewers’ group money in exchange for glowing feedback on their products. This causes the ranking of thousands of products to increase drastically.
Importance of Reviews for a Business:
Businesspeople want their company to succeed and be ahead of its rival. Five-star reviews provide a boost to their business. There are several people available in the market that are willing to write fake reviews. This motivates the merchants to add artificial stimulus to their work. The small companies present on Amazon has thousands of fake reviews to increase the rating of their product. It also causes the product to come in top searches as a popular product. The high volume of customer reviews improves conversion rates of companies.
In the digital age, online reviews are easy to find as everyone has access to mobile phones and the internet. News about business travels fast. They become visible even before you click a product. Buyers look at the star rating and the number of reviews regarding a business. They look for individual reviews to learn what to expect from that business and whether or not to use their services. Overwhelming positive reviews about a product cause customers to give it a try. Online reviews provide customers with inside information about the product. It reduces their risk to make a bad decision for buying something online. Through reviews, people can analyze the qualities and drawbacks of the product and make a sensible decision. This is only true if there are true reviews present online, but online businesses are littered with fake reviews. It devalues the factual reviews and plays a negative role.
Amazon Merchants Paying Facebook Groups:
Many groups are working on Facebook with thousands of fake accounts that provide paid reviews to merchants on their products. Recently, it was witnessed when Facebook and Amazon both were filled with fake reviews. Facebook has taken immediate action and removed all the fake accounts they could find. In this quarter, they have shut down around 119 million fake accounts from Facebook. Majority of them were being used for providing fraudulent reviews for online products. Fake ID reviews have been used by various merchants over time to increase the rating of their product.
Amazon has flooded with fake reviews this month, and every other month violations of their policy can be witnessed. It’s difficult to separate fake reviews from the real reviews as Amazon allows to post comments even if you haven’t purchased any item. For most of the items, you can trust the reviews as the products are good too. But there are many reviews which are based on lies and are a fraud.
There remains a lot of pressure on businesses to maintain a good repo with positive reviews, but more than 40% of the reviews on Amazon are a fraud.
Signs of Hope:
Fake reviews have been a hot topic of discussion recently. As days pass by this issue is getting worse. In general, reviews are being written in amounts of thousands because they give hope to the customers. While buying something online, one is always in doubt. Reading a positive comment or review about the products builds trust between the customer and the brand. Almost 60% of individuals read online reviews before they buy them online. Reviews that are supposed to be given by customers and clients are trusted 12 times more than the description provided by the brand. Majority of the customers believe in online reviews as much as they would trust a personal review. Just like our parents would trust the recommendations given by a friend, today’s generation is influenced by online reviews in the same way. Hundreds of five-star reviews are left on products everyday on Amazon, and customers tend to believe them. They hope these reviews to be true as differentiating between true and false reviews is difficult and are often betrayed by them.
Can We Trust What We See Online?
Word of mouth has been an ancient way of spreading news or selling products by reaching out to potential buyers. Online reviews are the word of mouth of the digital age. Positive reviews can generate a large proportion of business for any brand. Online reviews with five-star rating cause the sale of the product to rise by 270 percent than the one with no review. Almost 79% of individuals have claimed that they have come across fake reviews online. There are more shopping choices today than ever before, and being a customer has become difficult as you don’t know what to trust and what not to. Fraudulent reviews are always bad for customers. People are often looking for information regarding the business, and they trust online reviews for that. They also trust those brands more, which offer online reviews. People need to figure out to secure themselves from fake reviews and know the difference between the reviews from people who have used the products. One fake review is enough to make or break a brand.
Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Just like positive comments and reviews cause an increase in sales, a negative comment can be detrimental for your business. The sales are dropped by 20% by a single negative review. Two or three negative comments and reviews can cause this scale to drop by 59%. To solve this, business owners should show customers that they are an honest and reliable company. Competition should be dealt with courage. If something is wrong with your product, try and improve it, and handle negative feedback well. Keep an open eye on the market and compete fairly. Fake reviews greatly impact business and consumers. They can either persuade customers to buy a product, or they can also be used to keep customers away from the rival business. They convince people whether to buy or not to buy a product. Customers and businesses both can be hurt from the fake reviews. When your work speaks for itself, reviews will start flooding in itself and you won’t have to buy fake ones.