Table of Contents
Before we start, let us ask you a question:
Would you avail of a product or service if it does not come with several good reviews?
Your answer, predictably a “yes,” is what motivates many companies to generate fake reviews.
But, any ingenious idea does not come with a negative side effect.
One of the major reasons why many people have become pessimistic about online transactions is fake reviews. We can act smart and say, “It’s easy to navigate through reviews and spot a fake!”. But, in reality, spotting fake reviews is not as simple as it seems. This is why many fall victim to scams that not only lead to theft, identity theft, and even life-jeopardizing situations.
This is what has driven our team to write this article: To help you and your friends to identify and combat fake reviews.
Guard your hard-earned money and brand name–read on.
Knowing the Enemy
It is all over the books and movies: Know your enemy first before you can defeat them. Study what makes them tick, what crushes them, and when they can come back again.
Just the same, we have to know the ins and outs of a fake review.
Fake reviews can come in different forms:
- Reviews written through fake accounts
- Reviews are written by real people but are false claims
- Reviews that promote a competitor
Reviews written through fake accounts
- Companies often post fake reviews both to uplift or degrade. They do this by creating fake accounts on various platforms and posing as real people so that their reviews will seem believable.
Reviews are written by real people but are false claims
- On the other hand, they can also opt to use personal accounts or paid real people to post fake reviews. This will result in a more believable and verified review that strict review sites will accept.
Reviews that promote a competitor
- To maximize their efforts, competitors write fake reviews that will downgrade their enemy, and at the end of their false claims, they will redirect you to their services.
The Real Thing
Before you get on the no-man’s-land to combat fake reviews, we first want you to understand and know what real reviews look like. If you are not careful, you will miss them.
Real Reviews are moderate.
- Fake reviews tend to exaggerate praises and insults, while real reviews stay within “just right” parameters.
Real Reviews are layman.
- Real people’s reviews do not contain typical marketing jargon or too much detail about the company, unlike fake reviews.
Real Reviews are from real people.
- If you are not sure of the authenticity of a review, always check back to the reviewer. If they have a recently created profile, usually without a picture, then there is a high chance that they are fake.
It is also a red flag if they had been reviewing lots of companies at random in just a small amount of time.
Real Reviews are not blunt.
- To save time, fake reviewers tend to leave brief and vague reviews. This is not the case with real ones. They tend almost to tell a story of their experience, not leave a single sentence review. This is because they experienced the product or services.
Real Reviews sound real.
- Do you remember how people get emotional? Yes, that can happen with real reviews, mainly if they write with dissatisfaction, gratitude, or happiness. With fake reviews, you will not feel any emotion or feel too much of it.
Always remember that the more complex people try, the faker they seem!
But is it illegal?
Fake reviews, just by the name, are infuriating. If you have been a victim of one, it is hard to deal with because your name, brand, and money were put on the line. It was a huge betrayal. It is cheating, to put it bluntly.
But why aren’t there any popular cases about fake reviews being put out to justice?
Here is what ReviewTrackers.com had to say about this instance:
Providing customers with incentives to write reviews of your business can also have repercussions. According to the “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reviews are considered endorsements.
If there is a form of incentive or compensation or close relationship between an individual giving an endorsement and a company receiving it, this should be made explicit. The FTC also considers it illegal to incentivize reviews even if there’s no requirement that the review be positive. According to the guides:
Advertisers (companies) and endorsers (customers who provide endorsements) may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement or failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers.
The takeaway from this is that paid reviews are alright, as long as it was stated to the public.
The Danger of Fake Reviews
False claims are dangerous alone. But, can it cause enough harm to escalate up to a court?
Here are the worst-case scenarios if you have been victimized by fake reviews:
- Customers’ expectations are not met.
- They availed of the product/service after seeing a fake positive review. The company delivers the opposite.
- You may get suspended.
- As aforementioned, it is illegal in business review sites to generate fake reviews. If caught, the company will lose further chances of getting more clients due to law negligence, and the reviewer might be banned.
- You will get sued or fined.
- It is illegal to defame and misinform people and lead them into life-threatening situations.
- People will remember you.
- And not for the best reasons. It will be hard to get back in business once you become infamous for faking and lying about your experiences or company.
5. Defeating the Monster
Amazon, to name a few, recently had a massive fake review problem. It may not go into mayhem if more people know how to identify and combat fake reviews. Therefore, we present effective attacks to defeat fake reviews.
(You’ve come this far. We saved the best for last.)
6. Shield of Strength
Companies should introduce a verification process before accepting anyone to write a review regardless of their authenticity. Engage with suspicious reviews and ask for authentication in the comments, where it is seen by the public.
7. Flag of Truth
- As an honest citizen, you can report or flag any review or profile that looks suspicious. Every review site has their own instructions regarding this step.
8. Justice Call
- If it is already causing distress, call on the authorities and your lawyer for assistance.
Fake reviews, both positive and negative, are truly one of the most cunning monsters in the already-scarring world of business. The common public should always keep an eye out for the subtle signs and footprints.
Em-em Avila is a creative content writer from a leading Online Freelancing Platform—24Task. She loves to share information about a variety of topics including Academic Writing Tips, Freelancing Jobs, Digital Marketing Strategies, Virtual Assistance, and many more. Her passion for writing and sharing valuable information and helpful tips with other people is her inspiration in her every piece.