Why Would People Leave Fake Negative Reviews?
Reviews are massively important for online sales. A buyer on Amazon, for instance, may not even click on a product with less than four stars, much less read the reviews to find out if they seem legitimate. The fact that the product got some negative reviews is enough to push them into looking elsewhere. Meanwhile, someone who sees a product with five stars may buy it without doing much research. They trust that the other users have already done the research and reported on using the product, so they don't have to. That's not to say that reviews and stars are the only ways to sell your products, but you can't ignore how much of a difference they make.
So, what happens if someone leaves a one-star review that you're pretty sure is fake? It can literally cost you sales from the day the review goes live. This is for more than just Amazon; it applies to buisnesses on Google and Yelp, for instance, or sellers on Facebook. Most sites have some sort of review system that people can use, and that means there's a chance that fake negative reviews can tank a product or a business.
Why Does This Happen?
They often say that there's no such thing as bad publicity, but that's not necessarily true. In some cases, a story goes viral, and it leads to reviews from people who have never heard of a product or service until that day. For example, a YouTube content creator once went to a hotel in Florida. He did not like the way that he was treated while he was there. That may have resulted in one negative -- but potentially legitimate -- review. However, since this person had influence online, he made a video telling his fans what had happened. They became angry about it, and they started leaving negative reviews. A landslide of these reviews came in from people who had only heard one side of the story and who had never even been to the hotel.
Clearly, regardless of the validity of the claims made by the YouTube star, that's not how review systems are supposed to work. Overnight, an entire brand could essentially be ruined, all because one person had a poor experience. Reviews are supposed to keep people and companies accountable, but they're not there to batter them into irrelevence after one mistake.
And that's assuming that a mistake was even made. There could certainly be a case where a company was in the right but a disgruntled customer had a larger internet following. They could use that following to hammer the company with one-star reviews, even though they were in the wrong the entire time. How are companies supposed to defend against this? Does the internet, in this sense, wield too much power? Business owners may feel like they are walking on eggshells, trying not to make that one critical error that ruins everything they've worked so hard for.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, the companies offering the reviews do know that this happens. If there is a sudden flood of reviews in a short period of time, they may turn off the review feature temporarily. They may also work to make sure that reviews are at least for products that were purchased; for instance, Amazon allows reviewers to be identified as actual buyers, not just people who are leaving a review of a product they may or may not own. This doesn't necessarily mean mob mentality can't take over, but it means that people would at least have to purchase the product.
It's also wise to take a proactive approach. You know how important your reputation is. So do we. At Content Customs, we offer ethical reputation management services that can help prevent or deal with this type of issue. We make sure that you get an honest chance to put your best foot forward. We help you avoid a negative reputation that may feel so hard to shake. Remember, the review process is important to users, too. They need excellent products and services. They don't want to be turned away by fake reviews left with another agenda in mind. Work with us and we'll help you show your potential customers exactly what you have to offer.