We all know the feeling of buying something long-wanted online….
You have signed on to see the product more than a few times. You get excited viewing the pictures of the product and using the “zoom” tool to check out each and every detail. You have read the reviews over and over, not just positive, but also negative, understanding the diversity of the online shopper and the importance of “positive criticism” and “difference of opinion”. You have made up your mind after much thought.
So you buy it….
But did you know that one out of everything three reviews are a fake review?
Ecommerce shopping is not what is used to be. When you view a product, it is natural to see the positive in something that YOU want. But while you invest your energy into making good shopping decisions, businesses invest much of their energy assuring that you make good shopping decisions as well: for their benefit, not yours, via fake reviews.
By 2014, Gartner Inc. predicts that between 10-15% of social media reviews will be fake reviews! Not only will they be fake reviews, but fake reviews that businesses pay for!
This destroys the whole idea of reviews by customers for customers. 10-15% is a huge percentage, but even larger is not knowing which reviews are true reviews, and which are fake reviews.
Cornell researchers are calling the fake review’s phenomenon “deceptive opinion spam.” It is not just spam or fake reviews, but intelligently designed opinion used to deceive. Opinion that is not only fake, but composed to manipulate the buyer and support the seller and their identity.
Businesses pay for these fake reviews through cash or rewards. The FTC is cracking down on this issue and have even made sure that any marketing or blogging using fake reviews and receiving payment must disclose if doing so. As the FTC investigates more, businesses find more means of using fake reviews.
And while businesses can pay for fake reviews, people make careers out of them. The New York Times reported the business GettingBookReviews.com which post reviews on websites for a fee. In 2010, the business was making approximately $28,000 per month!
Fake Reviews essentially change the concept of customer’s reviews. A system set up to advice shoppers of the pro’s and con’s of buying a product is no longer credible. It may be one out of every three reviews is a fake review, but which is which? Which reviews are credible and which are fake reviews, and to make things worse, who is making money off of creating fake reviews and what are their goals? Even scarier, as time goes on and the percentage of fake reviews rise, when will 10-15% become 20%? Or worse, even more?
Yotpo is changing that. A trusted outside source to help shoppers better review products and make decisions on true reviews, not fake reviews, by true customers, from the “inside” or “out”. Yotpo creates social media reviews that identity the reviewer, therefore combating the use of fake reviews.