How we do business and how we reach customers has significantly changed over time and more so over recent years since the introduction of tech platforms and writing reviews. The common occurrence of fake reviews being reported by businesses of any kind have increased dramatically in this ever-changing technological era and it is costing businesses billions of dollars annually.
There are many reasons why a review can be fake, and there are different ways to detect it. First of all, fake reviews have been known to damage a business’s reputation, cost business money and cause significant distress to staff and business owners. In addition to this, fake reviews can also harm businesses search engine optimization efforts, take up executive time and affect employees mentally. Although no business is immune to fake reviews, there are ways to limit the damage caused and minimize the intended impact.
This issue has become so widespread that many tech giants have been urged to make it easier to remove fake reviews. One group has even lobbied the government to make it easier to remove fake reviews. While the CMA and ACCC have not introduced a law yet, they have advised tech giants to make it easier to remove fake reviews.
Another way to detect fake reviews is to monitor review sites, check the person’s past reviews and conduct a review map. Many review sites have tools that allow users to report fake reviews. It is very easy to write a fake review on a website which makes it more challenging for legitimate businesses. You can even report a fake review on a blog or social media account.
Another way to identify fake reviews is to look for the reviewer’s avatar. This will help you determine if the reviewer is a real person. In some cases, fake reviews will appear only when a company or an individual has given them their email address.
Fake reviews are a problem for businesses on many sites, including Google and Facebook. Those that post them are infringing on Google’s prohibited content policy and violating community standards. The ACCC outlines that it is against the law for a business to create fake or misleading reviews or arrange others to create fake or misleading reviews. In 2011, the ACCC took action and issue an infringement notice of $6600 penalty against removalist business Citymove for misleading online reviews.
Last year, the county court of Victoria ordered a woman who posted several negative reviews on Google about Kew periodontist Dr. Allison Dean, to pay $170,000 in damages, in which the judge said was a “vendetta” against the specialist.
According to small business ombudsman Bruce Billson, fake reviews often matter on online platforms and could contribute to lost sales over an extended period of time, furthermore, a business owner’s identity is often linked to their business and fake reviews contribute to one’s mental health. Announcing to a parliament committee the recommendations that digital platforms build tools that prevent fake reviews as well as creating a more accommodating and transparent review system. This should also give small business more transparency to provide evidence they need to provide in order to have fake reviews removed.