A recent Gartner study found that fake online reviews are only going to grow, even with the review sites and search engines trying hard to alleviate them. Even the FTC has stepped in to try and combat the fake online review phenomenon.
No matter if its negative or positive, a fake review is still a fake review, and these fake reviews are being generated by an array of different sources. Some people think that businesses are solely responsible for the creation of fake reviews, but they’re not. So where are all these fake reviews coming from?
Believe it or not, there are some companies out there who are paying people to write fake online reviews for their business. They are either hiring a company to do it for them or paying individuals to create fake reviews that make their business seem magical and give it a phenomenal rating.
Employees have also taken to online review sites and have written fake reviews about their company. These reviews may have been positive, trying to help their company generate some business. And other times, disgruntled employees have written negative reviews for their company too.
Some review users are also writing fake reviews. Online review sites like Yelp offer incentives to those users who write a large quantity of reviews, so many people are taking this opportunity to write fake reviews for businesses they never visited just to earn the perks.
Customers are also writing fake reviews. If a customer has a slightly bad experience with a company, they may exaggerate and write a horrible review for the company when their experience wasn’t really that bad.
Friends and Family
Many businesses are receiving fake online reviews from friends and family members of the owners or employees. These individuals are taking it upon themselves to draft extremely positive reviews of the business and highlighting all the wonderful things that company has to offer just to try and get people in the doors.
Some companies’ competitors have also taken it upon themselves to create fake reviews for other businesses. Their hope is that by writing fake online reviews for their competition, they’ll generate more interest in their own business.
Fake online reviews are a travesty to the online review community. Many consumers take these reviews seriously and use the information provided to influence their own purchasing decision. If these review sites are constantly bombarded with fake reviews, consumers are not going to be able to trust what they read, and the use of online review sites will slowly diminish.
If a person or business is caught generating fake reviews, there are consequences to be had. It’s extremely important that businesses try and earn their reviews as naturally as possible, and it’s important that individuals only leave real reviews for companies they’ve actually visited. If people can be more honest, online review sites will be a more pleasant experience for companies and individuals alike.
Caroline Jones is a business professional and reviews tracker. She shares advice and tips on online review management.