Everyone knows the importance of online reviews and the fact that they can easily make or break a business, whether you are a famous restaurant or hotel or just a small e-commerce platform selling your own unique fashion designs. And reviews aren’t just good at telling website visitors how good your business is, they can also increase search engines rankings and drive traffic to your site. And of course, they can help increase conversations, which is crucial for any e-commerce business.
Online reviews are the modern form of word of mouth, and studies show that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And more than that, people who read reviews tend not to read the top review and move on, they actually read up to 10 full reviews on average. In an age in which the average attention span seems to be getting ever shorter, 10 is a huge amount. Ultimately, positive reviews create trust, and what all businesses strive towards is a level of trust that attracts more users and helps their users feel comfortable making purchases.
So it’s clearly a no-brainer when it comes to enabling customer reviews on your site. The problem is, somewhat ironically, that for a medium that aims to build trust review manipulation has become a major problem. In an effort to glean all the benefits of a great business with good reviews, many businesses are simply taking shortcuts and manufacturing reviews. There are now endless numbers of people and platforms offering to write free or cheap reviews for websites, products or services. Just take a look at Fiverr for one example. For just 5 dollars you can begin to receive fake reviews and optimize your site.
This might seem like a very pain-free form of manipulation, but the truth is, the stakes are high. Trust is a very delicate thing to create, especially between users and businesses, and it can be very easily broken. It is extremely hard to regain trust once it is gone. And while there is a huge market for fake reviews, people are beginning to take the issue seriously. In Britain for example, there is an investigation that will fine firms found to be acting illegally and even send CEOs to prison.
On the other side of things, many platforms offering product listings are wising up to the fact that manipulation is happening in their review arena. Amazon, for example, has a robust anti-manipulation policy and even threatens legal action and civil and criminal penalties for manipulation that is found to violate state or federal policies. Yelp goes further and has its own team of investigators that scour the site, making sure the content remains authentic.
For smaller businesses, large-scale legal threats or hiring teams of special “review investigators” might not be an option. Weeding out fake reviews is a double-sided process. On the one hand it means a business must commit to authenticity and refuse to generate fake reviews. On the other hand, every business needs a robust spam filter to weed out the bad reviews generated by bots and problematic users.
There is a lot of software out there that can do the second job. Some of the review platforms themselves have great in-built anti-spam abilities that can help prevent bots. It is definitely worth taking the time to find a great platform that can ensure the authenticity of your customer reviews. And it really is worth taking the authentic approach and building up a base of legitimate customer reviews rather than going for the quick-win and manipulating the odds.
Heyoya is a game-changing voice comments and reviews platform for websites that is proven to increase credibility through its unique Voice Authentication Service. With Heyoya, you can avoid spammers by identifying your users and keeping track of all comments and reviews. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization.
For more information about Heyoya, and to start weeding out spam, click here.