According to BrighLocal, 98% of users read reviews of local services and 87% of people took help from Google to evaluate businesses. Positive online reviews can impact the online reputation of your business and can increase your sales. You need a review management system for managing your online reviews. However, if you think that your business received a fake negative review, you look for the signs to be sure.
Fake Reviews Are A Common Problem Faced By Businesses
Genuine reviews not only help you increase your business, but they also give you insights into what customers think about you and the areas you can improve. However, some companies or people post fake reviews as well to either make their business more prominent (positive fake reviews) or put down their competitors (fake negative reviews).
Unfortunately, fake reviews are more common than most people think. A survey conducted by BrightLocal found that 62% of consumers think that they have read a fake review in the last year. This poses a threat to every business and brand that is online or offline. Anyone can write a fake negative review on a third-party review site like Google, Facebook, Yelp, or TripAdvisor to damage the reputation of a business.
Spotting A Fake Review
To take the right actions against fake negative reviews, you should monitor every review and try to spot fake reviews. While some fake reviews may be difficult to spot because fake reviewers try to come out as genuine reviewers, these tips will help you to spot at least some of the fake reviews if not all.
The Details In The Review
The fake reviewer obviously doesn’t have real experience with the product or service they are writing about. But if the reviewer doesn’t want to be spotted, they will need to include some details in the review to make people dislike the business.
In this attempt, they mention details that don’t make sense and have nothing to do with the product or service they’re dissing. Fake reviews will try to include more personal details than details related to the product or service.
Check The Reviewer’s Profile Picture
Many people who post a review from their common Google account, have a profile picture on it. Fake reviewers don’t use their real accounts to post negative reviews. They create new accounts for this purpose with fake names and usually don’t care to add a profile picture.
Now, keep in mind that not all reviewers with no profile picture are fake reviewers as many people have real accounts but they don’t change their profile picture. So, use a review management software to monitor reviews and use this tip in combination with other tips for spotting a fake review.
Although genuine reviews can have simpler wordings as well more so if the reviewers can’t write English perfectly or due to a personal choice of words. However, research shows that fake reviews also use simpler wordings.
This is because fake reviewers have to use their imagination more because they’re creating a story and not stating something that happened to them recently. So, their minds are preoccupied with crafting a good story and the vocabulary and use of words are of less importance. Due to this, they use simpler words.
Check If The Reviewers Has Posted More Reviews
For determining a fake review, you should check the profile of the reviewer who posted a suspicious review. You should check if the reviewer has posted reviews for other businesses especially the businesses of your industry like hotels and travel.
Many times, fake reviewers create a new account specifically to post a negative review about a business or a few businesses. If the reviewer has not reviewed any other business or it reviewed only a few others and all of them are negative, chances are that the account was made solely to post negative reviews.
This is not the only hint you can get by checking other reviews of the reviewer. If you see the reviews have reviewed other businesses, but it disses others and sings praises about one, then it’s possible that the business they are boasting about might have something to do with it.
The Review Frequency Of The Reviewer
Once you see a suspicious review, other than seeing who the reviewer has reviewed other than your business, you should also check how frequently the reviewer has left reviews.
This is because many people who create accounts for posting fake reviews, usually create one account and post negative reviews at once or in a short amount of time. Then, they leave that account and create a new account for the same purpose.
So, if a reviewer has posted many reviews in a single day or a few days, but there are no other reviews than those, then the reviewer may be a fake.
Repeated Exclamation Points
Fake reviewers use exclamation points a lot. An MIT study found that reviews where the person is lying, tend to contain more exclamation points than real reviews.
The possible reason is that fake reviewers want the people reading this review to have an impact. Due to this, they add exclamation marks to show their fake emotions because they know the review is a lie so these points are used to make an impact and sound emotional (for instance; anger or disappointment in a negative review).
It’s been noted that genuine reviewers focus on the events and what led to the bad experience more than using exclamation points excessively.
Reviews Without Comments
A negative review without a comment is a red flag. This points toward a potential fake review. Many review sites allow users to post reviews without adding comments, so anyone can post a negative review without stating the reason or their experience with the business.
This makes the job of fake reviewers easier. They can rate a business negatively without even purchasing from the business.
However, keep in mind that some reviews without comments can be genuine reviews as well. To filter out fake reviews, look for 1-star or 2-star reviews. Then, go through the other signs of fake reviews explained in this blog to detect if they are genuine or fake reviews.
An Influx Of Negative Reviews In A Short Amount Of Time
If your business is facing a large number of negative reviews posted in a short amount of time, it’s highly likely that a competitor or a spammer is trying their best to affect your online reputation.
Recommendation Of A Competitor
If a competitor is after you, they may go a step further and try to convert your customers and visitors into their potential customers. For this, they may post reviews about your business and also recommend their business in the review. So, if you’re seeing some negative reviews where the same competitor is being mentioned, you should inquire more.
How To Report A Fake Review?
After spotting a fake review, you should contact the review website for reporting the fake review. Show them the reasons why the review is fake. Many review websites will take this seriously and investigate to learn if the review is fake or not. However, bear in mind that reporting a fake review is not always result in the removal of the fake review depending on the policies of the review site.
Fake reviews can damage your business so you should use white label review management software and follow the above signs to spot a fake review and report it.