The phenomenon of fake reviews is technically defined as “astroturfing”. This is the procedure through which it is possible to positively or negatively influence the turnover of a user through the reviews publication. In this case, the practice is performed by subjects who have never used the service provided by the restaurant, shop, hotel, and other activities. It seems possibly unnecessary to specify that it is much easier to burn the image of a merchant through a negative review than to enlarge the number of customers of the same, with some false positive reviews. According to a recent study by the Harvard Business School, this practice has an influence between 5% and 9% on the customers’ numbers of those who adopt them.
If you have a business and a so-called “internet service company” has offered you a package of reviews on TripAdvisor, Airbnb, and Booking that will guarantee appreciation of all kinds for your business, you can already smell some fake reviews. And now, the problems begin.
First of all, if the hosting platform discovers this kind of activity, it may decide to close your account or downgrade it. Fake reviews are a violation of the contractual rules that you accepted when you signed up. We don’t want to scare you with legal problems but you have to consider them. What we want to do is to give you a small guide to recognize the fake reviews and avoid them.
Some elements can be helpful to understand if we are in front of true or false reviews.
Always check the review’s number: if it is high, the average score is more likely to be reliable.
Take a look at the latest publication date of a review: if the entry is updated it means that the source could be reliable.
Look carefully at the photos taken by customers;
Consult the “questions and answers” section of the portal: if it is on the site and that is updated is a good sign.
A single review on the whole page, however, is almost always suspicious: better not to trust.
The review was written by an account registered only a few minutes before. The same account published several opinions in a short period, or did not enter other reviews about other business;
The review shows too detailed information and some professional images or taken from other sites;
The review expresses a diametrically opposite opinion compared to the average of the other opinions;
The review expresses an excessively negative or positive opinion on a structure;
In discrediting one structure, the review suggests another: the latter is irrefutable proof that it is a fake. Probably a paid one.
Now that you have a more comprehensive picture, please remember: avoid fake reviews.
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