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Is Paying For Fake Customer Reviews Worth It?

Henning Frettem
Published by
Henning Frettem
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Is Paying For Fake Customer Reviews Worth It?

Henning Frettem
Published by
Henning Frettem

Competing for online shoppers is tough and if you want to attract more traffic and generate more sales, you have to stand out. Up-to-date content is important and as an online store owner, you’ve surely been in a situation where you wanted more of your customers to leave a review after making a purchase.

Over the years, several big names in eCommerce have been caught cheating with user reviews. Among others, the giant Amazon emphasized the problem with many of their retailers “buying” user reviews by offering free products to those who leave opinions on the shop’s product side. Other times, cheating happens through extensive moderation or simply when the shop owners write reviews on their product sides themselves.

Fake user reviews carry high risks

Why do online shop owners buy fake reviews? The reasons range from a willingness to have a little boost around a new product just for a short period, to concern for the customers’ real experience of the product or service offered. But false reviews carry a way higher risk than for example negative reviews. Here you can read about 7 reasons why negative user reviews are positive for your online store.

The most immediate consequence of being caught using fake user reviews is the broken trust between you and your customers. When a customer looks at a poster or banner, whether on TV or in an online newspaper – they know that what they see is paid advertising. Unlike regular advertising, customers will think that user reviews in your online store are written by real consumers. If you buy fake user reviews, you will lose the trust of your customers, which can take a long time to rebuild.

Illegal marketing with false user reviews can also be fined and bring about additional financial consequences for revenue. There are countless rules for advertising and the fair boundaries can often be ambiguous. As a general rule, mixing up real user reviews and advertising should be avoided. To maintain order, the consumer affairs authorities recommend online operators to use systems that ensure verified user reviews. If you choose to buy fake user reviews, it can quickly become expensive.

Healthy skepticism and increased digital competence

Buying and selling fake user reviews has often received a lot of media attention and both online stores and shoppers grew understandably uncertain around the real value of user reviews. But increased expertise in the matter, both on the customer’s and online stores’ side, gives grounds for optimism. The fact that your customers know what they want is nothing to be afraid of – it’s an insight worth your careful attention.

The average digital competencies among online shoppers developed dramatically in recent years and feedback from online customers is queuing in the pipeline. It seems like today’s consumers use their digital competencies with fluency compared to their mother tongue. They also know that they should check several sources of information before they make a purchase, and thus look for ratings and reviews on various websites before finalizing the purchase (especially the more expensive one) online. If user reviews on your website are fake, it will most likely be detected.

This is how you identify fake user reviews

There is no one ideal way to detect fake user reviews online but there are a few characteristic signs you should pay attention to:

1. Check the time and number of reviews. People who publish fake user reviews often receive various compensations. Thus, similar reviews will often be published by one person around the same time.

2. Check the language. People who leave fake user reviews use similar words most of the time and describe fewer details – real reviews often appear more reserved than the fake ones.

3. Look for exclusively positive reviews. Exclusively positive reviews, not a single negative word, and only top ranking of the product/service are grounds to doubt if the reviews are genuine.

4. Pay attention to the focus of the review. If a review gives you the impression that the author has neither visited the website nor used the product they are reviewing but sounds more like an advertisement, it’s a good reason for skepticism.

5. Look for a ‘Verified Customer’ badge. The majority of serious webshops have the right software in place to ensure that the reviews published on their websites are written by the customers who actually bought the product they’re reviewing. It is often possible to see the reviewer’s full name.

Verified user reviews – your goldmine

The constantly growing demand for user reviews has naturally led to the development of more and more efficient customer reviews systems. If you are not already using a customer reviews system in your online store, you should definitely reconsider doing so. With verified user reviews, you avoid suspicion of fake user reviews. Instead, you build trust in your brand, cultivate customer relationships, and increase sales.

If you use an invitation-based platform such as Lipscore to collect user reviews, potential customers will see that the reviews displayed on your product pages come from people who have actually purchased the product they are reviewing. This signals that you take your customers seriously and that you want to know how to improve. This is how it works: Verified user reviews provide you with an insight you need to survive in eCommerce!

Long story short – there are 5 good reasons not to buy fake reviews:

  1. Do not buy fake user reviews – it’s illegal.
  2. Do not buy fake user reviews – it will be detected and you will lose customers.
  3. Do not buy fake user reviews – your customers will spread the word about you and this will have long-term consequences on your sales.
  4. Do not buy fake user reviews – there are many better ways to collect real reviews!
  5. Do not buy fake user reviews – because you don’t need them! You will gain much more by appreciating the reviews you already have and handling negative reviews with care.

Quit thinking about buying customer reviews – instead, give your customers a reason to return to your shop, offering the real shoppers a possibility to tell you what they think!

Henning Frettem
CEO & Founder