The Truth in Online Reviews
Posted by Troy Newport on 13 February 2013 08:12 am
Many of us look at online reviews when trying to decide whether or not to buy a product. eBay may have brought the online customer review into the mainstream consciousness. At least for me, it was a critical part of deciding whether or not I trusted a seller. These days there are customer reviews attached to everything: Google Places for Business (aka Google +), Yelp, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Amazon. If we lived in an honest world these reviews would be extremely helpful. Unfortunately there are some out there who forge reviews in their favor, or leave unfavorable reviews on their competitors. As a consumer this can be misleading and confusing. Here are a few tips to help determine if a review is fake or not.
Companies have been paying for good reviews for a number of years. The FTC ruled in 2009 that companies paying for reviews without disclosing the reviewer was compensated constitutes deceptive advertising, and the companies can be prosecuted for such practices. Yelp publicly outed companies for paying for reviews last year. You can guess companies are already trying to find ways to game Facebook’s Social Graph and get sponsored reviews out into social media land. So keep your critical thinking caps on, dear internet user. Trust but verify!