Can you really trust reviews?

Can you really trust reviews?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Question: What do a Mojito, an iPhone Screen Protector and an Italian Carpaccio have in common?

Answer: They will all increase your feedback score on eBay.

Wait…. What?

Yeah. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Whether you’re booking a holiday, buying a new car, changing your fabric softener or just nipping into town for some breakfast, we’re reading reviews. The influence and opinions of our peers is important to us. If my local pizza place tell me that their pizza is the best in England, I’m sceptical. But if I read a decent number of reviews with people raving about it – I’m hungry.

So what’s all this about mojitos and carpaccio increasing an eBay feedback score? Introducing…. Fake reviews. Not only are we a society that respects the opinions of our peers, we’re also very devious, well, some of us are. Fake reviews are becoming quite the problem online and it’s difficult to know exactly what to do about them because as a store owner, you could be losing sales to those with inflated fake reviews.

So firstly… let’s go over this eBay thing.

Who wants to buy a Mojito recipe? It’s only €0.01, shipping is FREE, but you have to pick it up from Belgium.

The secret to this auction is 1 small line in the description:

Did you spot it? No, not the bit about worldwide shipping, but the line “After you leave us feedback, it will kindly be returned”. The adverts for the carpaccio recipe and the iPhone screen protector are the same. You can buy a nice screen protector for just 1 pence, but you’ll have to collect it from Lithuania.

0.1c buys you 5 star feedback on eBay. If a store is just starting out, what’s it worth to have 1000 positive reviews… €10? Because that’s all it is!

Amazon Reviews

Don’t get me started on Amazon, literally anyone can go on and leave a review for any product. Granted, they work hard to detect bot written reviews or other forms of fake reviews, but when a human is paid to go on and put fake reviews, who can stop it?

To prove a point, let’s look at the top review here:

Fake amazon reviews

I wrote that, in between writing this and the last paragraph. Don’t worry, I’ve since deleted it, but it’s proving a point. Luckily for Amazon, they’ve cottoned on to verified purchases and do work hard to keep reviews relevant, but it’s still not a perfect system.

Google Reviews

Good old Google has cottoned on to the popularity of reviews in quite a big way recently. I don’t know how many people they ask, but I’ve been sent e-mails asking for me to give my thoughts on places I’d visited, based on my location history. However, despite the vague knowledge that I’ve been in the rough vicinity (My phone keeps asking me to check into the pub that’s 2 doors along from my house) there’s no way of verifying this.

When I’m looking to book a restaurant or a day out, I generally read a few Google/TripAdvisor reviews. I’ve seen a number of Google reviews where there’s 1 particularly bad review… when you look deeper into it, it’s clearly just someone from a rival place. Pretty low tactics, but it happens.

So what’s the message here? Reviews are useless and we shouldn’t trust them?
No, absolutely not.

The message is that reviews are popular, important, and people take stock of them. But, we’re also not stupid, and mostly we can spot the difference between fake reviews and real reviews.

As far as running an e-commerce store goes, the message is that you absolutely need reviews, but you need good reviews from independently verified sources – aka, your customers. Enter Feefo. Feefo helps the end user make qualified buying decisions based on genuine feedback from other customers. It takes the worry and the guesswork out of working out if you’re being spammed.

Trust and security is still a huge part of online shopping. If you can communicate to your potential customers that not only is their data well looked after, but also that your reviews are verified, genuine customer reviews, then you can start to be one step ahead of the competition.

To start building trust in your store, chat to us now about Feefo!

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