Fake Reviews are all the Rage

There has been a lot of press lately about fake reviews. As of October 24th, an SEO company was busted not only falsify a business location but also reviews, by creating Google+ accounts of known people in SEO. They had over 60 reviews coming from well known names in the industry. None of the reviews had an image though. The reviews have since be flagged and removed and the Google plus page has been flagged as a scam by Google.

Last week Yelp busted 8 businesses trying to buy fake reviews for their business. Yelp has since posted not only a warning on said accounts, but a link to their proof.
Yelp search for people looking to buy reviews on craigslist and exchanged emails back and forth. Yelp then post a link to the email conversations for the public to see and make their own judgment.

Is there a way to tell if a review you are reading is real, fake or just a vindictive person?

I saw a hotel get dinged because the power went out in the city. Yes the whole area lost power and the hotel was blamed for something outside of their control.
“…THE ELECTRICITY WAS SHUT OFF FOR SERVERAL HOURS ON BOTH NIGHTS WE WERE THERE.” The entire review was left in all caps. A power outage will ruin any otherwise enjoyable stay, but it can be enough to distort the entire view on the hotel.
You cannot please everybody. One major aspect of customer service is to insure that the customer/ client are happy. What happens when a client is not happy? They cannot post a rather nasty review on your yelp listing, Google+ page and other site to make you look bad. It could just be an unreasonable or an extremely vindictive person. A great team skilled in providing excellent customer service may be able to stop some negative reviews, but some will slip through. A majority of the negative reviews had to do with the mandatory valet parking at $28.00 a day or the charge for wifi. If you are not familiar with the hotels in the area, you will not know that is in fact common. Sorry no Free Wifi.

On Amazon.com, for instance, a suspiciously high 80 percent of reviews give four stars or higher, says Bing Liu, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who studies the inauthentic-review problem.

Things to consider when reading reviews.

Does this review sound plausible?

Sometimes you can look at a review and conclude that it is fake review.

Here is a review left on yelp:
“Da worse service ever.. Dey just judge me cuz I was in my work clothes.. Dey list a customer” Yelp has filtered out this review and it does not show up in the normal results. What if somebody saw this review and it swayed them away from this business, how would you even know the harmful effects from this fake review.
The other clue to a fake review is they only post the one negative review. This same user only had the one short review. There was not substance to back up the “claim” or any other reviews to show a pattern of reviews. Sadly in this day and age, this could possible happen or worse.

Sometimes a reviewer goes too far with the details to come off sounding completely embellished. Too much detail or not enough detail can be a sure fire signs the review is fake. The other strong indicator is the review has no other history reviewing other products, services or businesses. Writing 1 review that either bashes or states how truly wonderful something is, may need to be ignored.

Your market may be highly competitive.

You may not even know it but you, competition could be targeted your business with fake negative reviews. One negative review is a major eyesore to any business, but what if the review is fake? The general public may not know the difference and you may have lost a customer just from one review. The process to get a fake review removed is a painful process. With Google, it takes a long time to get a fake review removed. Yelp was busted years back for asking for money to have bad reviews removed.

Fake reviews is a big business, you can order all types of reviews on places like fiverr or craigslist. Positive glowing reviews, equals more business and more money in the pocket. I wonder how much money could be made off of 1 $5.00 5 star review? It’s a no brainer of a business solution, until you get caught. Everybody loses, the business and the potential client. The age old saying still rings true, buyer beware. Maybe it will take a major class action lawsuit to clean up all sites that rely on user reviews to fix the problem. Maybe all of the negative press about fake reviews will be the death of reviewer based sites. Time will tell.

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