Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Your online reviews are bad, or nonexistent, and you want to change that as quickly as you can. Should you pay people to leave a review, even if they haven’t tried your product or service?
The answer is a resounding NO! Soliciting fake reviews could land you, and the reviewer in court.
Last October, online retailer Amazon sued more than 1100 people who they believed posted fake product reviews. Not only had these people likely never tried the product, but they sold their fake review writing services on the online “gig” site, Fiverr.
Clearly, these product reviews are intended to sway future shoppers, and some research suggests that as much as 30% of product reviews may be inauthentic, false, or misleading. By contrast, only 10%-20% of online reviews for hotels and restaurants are considered to be fake.
Amazon is not the only company suing over fake reviews. The automobile research site, Edmunds.com, has pursued legal action against companies promising to deliver fake car dealership reviews to Yelp and Google+. Yelp has even discovered “gentleman’s agreements” between local businesses that promise to swap five-star reviews between the participants – an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality.
The fake online review problem has grown so big, in fact, that software engineers have been developing intelligent algorithms to detect fake reviews and prevent them from appearing online. However, based on Amazon’s lawsuit, which is the first suit to target individuals rather than websites where freelancers are hired, it appears there is still a market for fake reviews.
We’ve preached the importance of online reviews and how they can help your bottom line. We have even provided proven strategies to help you build your profiles with authentic reviews. Unless you want to find yourself (and the reviewer) named in a court case, soliciting fake reviews is an absolute no-no.
The good news is that we’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build your online review portfolio with authentic reviews from people who have tried your product or service.