S T A G F O X

One way or another, seldom a brand will see negative reviews on its website. And I am sure that it is not something that anyone desires.  However, fake reviews are even worse when it comes to market reputation in the eyes of the ‘public’.  It is a common practice nowadays for people to read reviews first when analyzing a company’s reputation, provided services or products.

Nevertheless, reviews play a vital role in the economic growth of any business.

The bad news?

Not all reviews are real and genuine. Some of the reviews mentioned on the product’s site are just negative messages written into the review section to demonize a particular company or product.

There are hundreds of reasons why negative and fake reviews are written. However, more often than not the purpose is mostly revenge oriented. But that is not all. Some reviews are bought for an overall review rating boost.  Who doesn’t want its review section all positive and delighting?

Thinking of how fake reviews are getting popular and what’s their impact on the overall market? Stick to this article till the end, and you will be able to analyze fake reviews’ reality.

What are Fake Reviews?

Fake reviews are generally reviews bought by a brand or a business that may either be positive or negative. Mostly they are bought to create a portrayal of a “perfect organization” that provides “perfect products”.

Fake Reviews can also be negative or false statements or comments written by a consumer or customer to portray a bad image of a product or company. Along with displaying a specific product’s right impression when it does not possess those qualities also comes under fake reviews.
They can have an impact on both ecommerce and brick and mortar businesses. 

Fake reviews can also be regarded as wrong facts about a product.

These reviews are not the honest opinions or viewpoints of a customer and are generally written for an immoral purpose. Fake Reviews can be written by anyone who is paid for a certain amount. Many companies pay people to publish negative comments to affect the sales of their competitors. On the other hand, some companies pay to show off a facade of perfection to their audience. The reasons can be a multitude.

We can never accept fake reviews as these are an extremely unethical way of marketing or indeed branding.

What are the Major Issues Regarding Fake Reviews?

As mentioned earlier, it is evident that consumers buy a product by taking note of the entity’s reviews. According to some reports, more than 97% of buyers in the world first read the product reviews before making the final purchase.

Customers after reading a fake review about a product might prefer buying it. However, when the product reaches them, what happens is utter discontent, disappointment, and dissatisfaction.

This leads to customers-loss.

What if you invest the right amount of money in buying an expensive product just by reading good and positive reviews about it? All you receive in return is only an inexpensive and wrong-quality product that is not worth the investment.

What would be your reaction?

Obviously, you will get upset.  Fake Reviews are not just about the waste of money but also the waste of energy, time and consumer expectation.

Let’s take an example from the e-commerce giant, Amazon.

Amazon is considered the most effective ecommerce retail service where hundreds of hundreds of products are being sold each second, across the globe.  When you visit a product on Amazon’s website, what is your first step? You would go for the seller’s review to analyze the customer’s ratings for that seller.

Investigations have shown that the overall market selling of Amazon got severely affected once fake reviews of Amazon products started being sold in bulk amounts. It is still a massive uphill struggle being faced by the company owners.

Investigations have shown that the overall market selling of Amazon got severely affected once fake reviews of Amazon products started being sold in bulk amounts. It is still a massive uphill struggle being faced by the company owners.

On the other hand, let uspull some statistics from TripAdvisor’s 2019 Review Transparency Report, which represents the physical marketplace.

In 2018, TripAdvisor received a total of 66m reviews on their platform. From that, 4.7% were rejected or removed through their vigilant screening process. At the enterprise level, if you consider that TripAdvisor posts an average of 256 content contributions every minute, operating in 28 languages across over 100 countries – the level of investment in resourceto screen every single piece of content is exasperating.

Now consider the individual businesses that are suffering as a result. They can be suffering from either malicious reviews, harmful to their reputation, or impacted by an unfair playing field when their competitors are not playing by the rules.

How Harmful Are Fake Reviews?

If we observe from a producer’s viewpoint, we will see how fake reviews can keep all of our budgeting and companies’ reputations at stake. There is still no possible way to verify each inspection, and companies are left with no option other than to accept this risk.

Some of the harmful effects of fake reviews are:

• Fake Reviews can cause an extreme level of customer’s dissatisfaction

• Fake Reviews can result in a significant reduction in sales

• Fake Reviews could lead to genuine negative reviews by the buyers

• A single negative review can result in a 22% loss of business.

How Can I Stay Safe from Fake Reviews?

If you are a buyer, you shouldn’t get easily manipulated by a group of people who post negative reviews about any product. You should be able to see everything from a diversified angle. A five-star review with excellent comments is not enough to act as a decisive factor for your purchase.

Therefore, to keep you safe from making your final purchase based on mere fake reviews for a company or a product, we have listed below some of the main ways through which you can easily differentiate a fake review from an original one in mere seconds:

1: Ratings Don’t Matter

Giving a rating to any product or service is just as easy as anything could be. All you have to do is to mark the stars. A five-star reviewed product is generally assumed to have an excellent reputation and scoring. People can easily trust buying this product as it has a good customer reputation.

This is where things go a bit wrong.

Never rely on the ratings of a product. Make sure that you scroll down towards the review and comment section. You must be wondering how reviews can be fake as per our claims. Well, yes! You are right.

However, reading the reviews with a strategic approach would require you to have a strong analytical capability. Remember, not all reviews are fake. Go for each comment and scan which one do you think is a natural and real one.

If you only see some exaggerated statements, mostly irrelevant, chances are more that the review is entirely fake.

2: Check the Status of Reviewers

Who writes the fake reviews? Are they written by robots or machines? No! The simple answer is that the reviewers themselves only write fake and real reviews. Implying that the reviews that you read can be easily defined as fake or real by just a single step.

All you have to do is to click on the reviewer profile. Check if the person who has commented has a credible profile or not. See the ratings and the period of time they have been a review contributor to the website. Is he a new buyer with zero ratings? If yes, then the profile you have opened is just writing fake reviews.

What now?

Be aware of such people. Or the best way is to block them as soon as possible.

3: Reviewing Opinions

Opinions about a specific product are subjective to the need and demands of the user. For me, an iPhone must be of much more importance than a person already owning it. However, in product reviews, it can be easily analyzed if a review is fake or real by just reading the review from a sharp mind.

Start by comparing two reviews. See if both the persons have written right about the same characteristic of a product. Are they both liking the appearance of the product? If there is a big clash between the positive statements about a product, it is nothing but just a fake review written for a harmful purpose.

Remember, fake reviews are mostly written by those who have never actually used the product themselves.

How Can We Remove Fake Reviews?

Until now, no authentic technology has taken a step into the marketing world to permanently remove the fake reviews from a product or service’s page. However, some ongoing AI research is still targeting the fake reviews of a product.

As mentioned earlier on in this blog, TripAdvisor deploy some clever technology to screen out the majority of fake reviews before they can be published. However, some do slip through gaps and have to be physically screened by a large team of individuals.

What if there was a technology, applicable in the physical world, that could filter out fake reviews at the source?

For instance, with StagFox host of Microservices, specifically ‘Surveys’, reviews and feedback can be verified at source. In other words, when a customer is detected by a StagFox device and prompted to leave a review, a Proof of Presence (PoP) event takes place which confirms the customer was actually there. If that PoP event does not take place, then a review cannot be submitted.  StagFox believe this technology will change the fake review industry for the better.

Have in mind: Only verified reviewers with their real identities can post a review, provide facts, and with the unique PoP will show they were actually there at that particular date and time.

The Bottom Line

As it is entirely evident that fake reviews are something that can be extremely harmful both from the production side as well as the consumer side. Buyers are easily manipulated by reading the comments. In case of a negative review, buyers are reduced, ultimately causing a significant loss.
On the other hand, if your product does not meet a specified criterion based on a fake positive review, your reputation will drop down to a level where you will find it extremely hard to find genuine buyers. Many companies have come into the ground to make shopping and e-commerce platforms a safer and secure place.

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