The rise of social media and online review sites has made it easier than ever for businesses to build their reputation and advertise their services. But with so many options out there, it’s not always easy to tell which are trustworthy.
Anyone can set up a website and post a few fake or exaggerated reviews about a company, after all. These “fake” or “false” reviews often do more harm than good.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the dangers of fake online reviews as well as some tips on how you can spot them before they hurt your business. Read on to learn more!
Increasing Fake Online Reviews
Businesses are now more likely to hire “online reputation management” (ORM) companies to flood the internet with glowing online reviews of their products and services. Such companies often use unethical tactics to get their desired results. They may even create fake accounts and logins to post positive reviews on websites like Yelp.
Some companies even create websites that “sell” positive reviews. They may offer to post a review on your behalf and charge a fee. Although they aren’t breaking any laws, they aren’t helping your business at all. Their reviews are fake, and when readers see them, they’ll think your business is better than it is.
Causes of Fake Online Reviews
Another reason why people write fake online reviews is to increase engagement on their blogs. If you have a blog, you know just how important it is to have an engaged audience. Bloggers who write fake online reviews on their blogs to drive more traffic to their site.
You can often see these fake online reviews written in a way that drives more people to a sales page on their website. Or, it may be designed to drive more people to subscribe to their email list.
Promote Online Reputation
Your online reputation is everything these days. If your customers are happy, they’ll tell their friends. If they aren’t happy, they’ll tell the world. That’s why you need to make sure your online reputation is strong. Many people create fake online reviews to increase their online reputation.
Again, there are a couple of ways that this can happen. Some people create fake reviews on a review website like Yelp or Google. Others, who are more daring, will create a completely false profile on a review website.
Get Revenge Against A Business
Some people create fake reviews as a way to get revenge against a business. People who have had negative experiences with a business may go online and create false reviews about that business to get back at them.
Keep in mind, though, that online reviews go way beyond just getting revenge on a business. They’re usually posted on review websites like Yelp, Google, and more. Because of this, they can have an even bigger impact on a business.
4. Make A Quick Buck By Writing Fake Online Reviews For Cash
Finally, some people create fake reviews for the sole purpose of making a quick buck. These people are often hired by businesses to create positive reviews for their brands. A famous example of this involved President Donald Trump.
A company called WebEngage hired people to write fake reviews. And it’s not just Trump who’s been a victim of this. Many businesses have been caught paying people to write fake reviews. The dangers of fake online reviews are real. Make sure you’re aware of them so you can protect your brand from being hurt by them.
The Dangers of Fake Online Review
Fake online reviews can have several adverse effects on your business. These include:
1. Decreased Customer Satisfaction
Fake online reviews can decrease customer satisfaction. A false review may lead customers to believe that your products or services are substandard even though they are just fine. As a result, these customers may be less satisfied with your business than they would have been otherwise.
This can hurt your reputation even more than the review itself and may cause people to stop using your products or services altogether.
2. Potential Customers May Not Trust Your Reviews
Another danger of fake online reviews is that potential customers may not trust your reviews. If you have a handful of five-star reviews from people who don’t seem like they’ve ever even used your products or services, potential customers may wonder why that is.
These can create a very real problem for you as a business owner. People who are interested in your products or services may see your reviews but wonder if they are real. If they don’t trust them, they may decide to go elsewhere.
3. You May Be Reported To The Appropriate Regulator
You may also be reported to the appropriate regulator if someone catches on to the fact that you are writing fake online reviews. This could result in serious consequences, including a fine.
Fake online reviews are illegal, and if you get caught posting a false review on your own company, you may be reported to the authorities. In some cases, you may even be prosecuted for your actions.
4. The Business May Be Suspended
Finally, fake online reviews may lead to the suspension of your business. If you get caught posting fake reviews for your own company, the authorities may take action against you. This could result in the suspension of your business license or even a ban on your services altogether.
It’s important to remember that false reviews often hurt more than just the business that receives them. They can also hurt the reviewers themselves by damaging their reputation and jeopardizing their ability to make a living.
How to Spot a Fake Online Review
A fake online review may include one or more of the following characteristics:
Language Used Is Too Good To Be True
If you read a review and the language seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the grammar is impeccable, if it has a lot of sophisticated vocabulary and if it’s very long and flowery, there is a good chance it is fake. Look for grammatical errors and misspellings that would not be present in a real review. If the review seems too good to be true, it probably is.
There Are Errors In The Online Review That Don’t Make Sense
If there is an error in a fake review, it is likely the person who wrote it didn’t do their research. For example, if a person writes a review for a Mexican restaurant and the review talks about Japanese food, it is probably fake. If you spot an error in a review that doesn’t make sense, it’s probably fake.
The User Has Very Little Or No Social Media Activity
If a person has only reviewed one company, the online review is likely to be fake. If someone has only reviewed one company, it is usually because they were paid to leave a positive review, or they worked for the company and wrote a positive review as part of their job.
The Online Review Is Out Of The Blue, With A Very Recent Date
If you see a review that is out of the blue, meaning it doesn’t have any connection to the company, it is probably fake. If you see a review that was posted very recently, it is likely fake. If you see a review that has no connection to the company and was posted very recently, it’s likely fake.
If you see one or more of these factors, you may want to reach out to the reviewer and ask them about it. You don’t want to come across as accusatory, but you want to get your side of the story out there as well.
Fake online reviews are a major problem for consumers, businesses, and the online community. These reviews are often made by fake accounts created by businesses themselves to boost their online reputation.
Unfortunately, the internet is a very big place and it’s hard to find real people who are willing to leave honest feedback about other businesses. That can be both a blessing and a curse. If real people are too shy to leave feedback, then businesses that want to improve their online reputation will have an easier time doing so. On the other hand, if real people are too busy to leave feedback, then that leaves more room for businesses to mismanage their reputations.
A recent study found that over 50% of Facebook users believe that fake online reviews are a problem. Unfortunately, businesses are getting better at making fake accounts and are less likely to be caught. That means that consumers will have to do their best to spot them.
If you think that you’ve found a fake online review on any website, take a screenshot and report it immediately. This will help the website owner take action to remove it.
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