30 April 2018
When you make a purchase online what pushes you over the line to check out? For many of us, it’s the reviews – whether they’re on the site itself or via an external site like Trustpilot or TripAdvisor.
I was interested to read therefore that the BBC has uncovered five-star reviews for sale online.
The report discovered Trustpilot adverts posted on eBay and forums offering full refunds for products bought online in exchange for five-star reviews on Amazon.
According to the BBC, the popularity of online review sites mean they are increasingly relied on by both businesses and their customers, with the government’s Competition and Markets Authority estimating such reviews potentially influence £23 billion of UK customer spending every year. That’s an extraordinary number!
According to the report, around three quarters of UK adults use online review websites and almost half of those believe they have seen fake reviews. That’s according to a survey of 1500 UK residents conducted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing and shared with BBC 5 Live Investigates.
Whilst of course, there are plenty of genuine reviews out there and I would like to think we’d be able to spot a falsified review, it’s clearly becoming harder and harder to get true feedback of a product.
Amazon banned incentivised reviews in 2016 but that seems to have pushed the practice to other areas of the internet with Facebook groups now driving Amazon reviews.
Notably, Amazon released a statement in which it said: “We do not permit reviews in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment. Customers and Marketplace sellers must follow our review guidelines and those that don’t will be subject to action including potential termination of their account.”
It must be an impossible task to monitor every review left on such a huge site and across such a massive network of buyers and sellers. It’s certainly an unenviable task.
So what’s the answer? Personally, I never use these sites anyway and go from word of mouth and recommendations from friends. Is that the answer going forward?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.