6% of Online Reviews are Fake – Yelp Affected
The online review is the go-to source for most consumers looking to making their mind up before a purchase. But recent data is showing that these online reviews cannot be trusted as much, thanks in large part to the practice of ‘review buying’.
A survey conducted by E-consultancy has found that the practice of companies buying positive reviews to boost brand image is a growing problem across many sectors of online commerce. Cornell University further substantiated the claim by reviewing that one of its studies shows that between 2 – 6% of all reviews on sites like Expedia, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor and Yelp are actually bought and paid for by companies looking to enhance their reputation.
But it’s not just consumer reviews that can be bought and more and more companies are starting to buy their way to better mindshare on social media platforms. Gartner estimates that by 2014, up to 15% of all social media ratings and reviews will be bought. Facebook in particular is affected, and a simple search for ‘Facebook Likes’ in Google will yield no fewer than 5 pages of results showing companies who will sell you likes to your Facebook page.
You name it, it can be bought. Twitter followers? No problem; there’s a company out there that can get you followed by hundreds, even thousands of people. Even Google’s new ‘+1’ metric is bought and sold.
Some people say it’s the competition for attention on the social media platforms as well as in the search engines that is fueling the shortcut to a positive brand image. Whatever the risks’ some companies are willing to go that route so I supposed caveat emptor is now more relevant than ever.