Online reviews hold a huge impact for decision makers when it comes to selecting a product or service online. As consumers, we place a high value on consumer opinions as we have been jaded by over-hyped marketing and sales pitches. We want to hear what actual purchasers or users have to say, alongside the sales pitch, to make a decision that feels more educated. The problem now is that the entire online reviewing system has become tarnished by dishonest practices, web trolls, paid reviews and an unhealthy power given to random hackers. In recent history, the review problem has gotten a lot of headlines.
Amazon Lawsuit Shows That Fake Online Reviews Are a Big Problem : Research estimates that 30% of product reviews are fake. That seems pretty big—enough to have real influence in a product’s overall ratings, and higher than the projected rate of fake online reviews for other things like hotels and restaurants (10% to 20%).
Reviews on Yelp Cannot Be Relied Upon for Vetting Purposes On September 2, 2014, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that even if Yelp removes “positive reviews or writes negative reviews to pressure the companies to pay for advertising, [that is] at most, hard bargaining” and therefore perfectly legal.
The Problem With Online Ratings : Online consumers reviews are trusted 12 times more, in comparison with descriptions of the product stated by the manufacturers themselves (eMarketer, February 2010).
Verified Reviews Matter
As consumers become more and more wary of reviews (as we have with over-hyped marketing), verified review systems will become the standard.
Yocale’s marketplace uses an internal review system that is based on the principles of authentic marketing. Reviews submitted can only come from verified customers that have received a treatment and have had that treatment marked as done by the provider. This protects the consumer from fake or purchased reviews and protects the provider from trolls, competitors or unsolicited hackers.
There’s nothing worse than opening up your email and media profiles and finding an unsolicited review that came over night. As you hastily check to see where the review came from, try to come up with a response and worry about how many people have already seen it – you quickly get sucked into a huge, PR battle that you never signed up for, especially if the review was made by someone who was not even your customer.
[bctt tweet=”The power of a negative review is shocking, and reviewers know it. “]
99% of happy customers tend to not say anything, yet the 1% of unhappy customers will rant online and their unhappiness usually has nothing to do with the product or service, it’s more likely to do with whatever else is happening in their life…they just need a place to vent.
For every thousand customers, only about 15 write reviews — and one of them is writing negative reviews of products he hasn’t bought.
Websites like this one showcase how many small businesses are being taunted and even ruined by reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor. Fake reviews, and in-authentic review systems are ruining businesses and creating an online marketing and business management dilemma.
The current online review system needs to change. We can disrupt the current way reviews are handled by demanding a greater level of transparency. Businesses and consumers deserve an authentic platform for online decision making that integrates all the best practices of verified reviews, or online reviews will become as relevant as these 1950’s mad men advertisements.