Fake reviews doing no favours for business

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By Published On: November 3, 20220 Comments

Unsurprisingly, the sentiment toward them is negative, but fake reviews may be more impactful on businesses than presumed.

Fake reviews may seem like an easy way to make sales and build trust, but a report released by Bazaarvoice found that when spotted, these fabricated reviews can turn customers off a brand as they lose trust in a business’s authenticity. Ten thousand global shoppers responded to the survey and The 2022 Fake Reviews Report reveals the negative impact fake reviews can have. 55 percent of Australian respondents confirmed they would not buy a product if they suspect a fake review and that fake reviews make many lose trust in a brand. The consequences go further with 86 percent saying they would avoid using a brand again after losing trust in it. 

Authenticity is key for consumers. “Trust is hard to build yet easy to break, which is why retailers should embrace authenticity in everything they do, especially when it comes to user-generated content (UGC),” says Bazaarvoice APAC Director Kate Musgrove. “Avoiding fake reviews will ensure retailers and brands protect the trust that they’ve worked so hard to build and will go towards protecting not only their reputation, but their bottom line.” 

Consumers and regulators alike want consequences for misleading content. Consumers are calling for new standards to combat fake reviews. Sixty-two percent want standards to dictate only verified customers should be able to post reviews and 59 percent want products to be tried and tested among legitimate consumers before launch. Over half of Australian respondents believe businesses should be fined up to 30 percent of their revenue if they breach these standards. Steps are already being made to enforce this. Bazaarvoice Director of APAC says, “regulators like the ACCC are ramping up their efforts to monitor and penalise those businesses who look to mislead consumers.” Fifty-three percent of respondents confirmed they are in the dark with their consumer rights in regards to fake reviews. 

Legal consequences for fake reviews are already taking form overseas. Amazon recently filed its first civil lawsuit in Spain, first criminal complaint in Italy, and is publicly targeting more than 10,000 groups and websites orchestrating an underground broker network of fake reviewers. In April, the UK proposed a new law as a result of a two year investigation in which The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be able to compensate consumers and impose financial penalties worth up to 10 percent of annual turnover for businesses that transgress the proposed rules. The United States is pushing for similar regulation and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly put over 700 businesses on notice in the past year. 

Consumers actually like negative reviews with 84 percent of Australian respondents saying negative reviews are either as or more important than positive ones. “Brand trust is one of the most valuable assets on the balance sheet,” said Zarina Stanford, Bazaarvoice CMO. “Harnessing the power of the voice of the customer is crucial for today’s always-on commerce. Authentically posted reviews – both positive and negative – is by far the most powerful way to utilise the voice of your customer to earn trust and purchase conversion.”

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About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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