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Fake Reviews

Fake Reviews: What You Need to Know

With so many people turning to reviews sites like Google Local and Yelp, it’s more important than ever to have a plethora of great reviews online. According to the Post-Gazette.com, “A recent survey by Chicago marketing firm Ryan Partnership found 36 percent of 8,000 shoppers polled used online reviews and recommendations this year, up from 12 percent two years ago.”

However, because of its importance, an abundance of malicious, fake reviews have been found.  And, despite your online marketing efforts a fake review can be detrimental to your business. Thus, discovering the reviews and handling them correctly will be of utmost importance; consider these three tactics.

Identify the Fake

The first step in handling the fake review process is seeking it out and identifying that it is in fact fake. If you’re proactive in checking for reviews on various sites it shouldn’t be difficult to find. If you happen upon a terrible review that you think is false, you’ll need to take three steps.

  1. Compare reviews: Are there multiple negative reviews using the same string of words or are very similar in tone and style? Don’t just check one site, check multiple sites for a frequent fake reviewer.
  2. Proof: Are you sure this is a fake? Any publisher or webmaster will want proof, especially Google. They, along with a handful of others, are protected by the Communications Decency Act which says that they cannot be held liable for harassment or slander through their websites or the ones they own. Be sure it’s truly fake before going any further.
  3. Competitors: Next, consider who could have done it. Have you recently had a tiff with a competitor or dealt with an unhappy customer? Consider going to them before reaching out to the webmaster.

Remove it Immediately

Once you’ve officially decided the review is fake you’ll want to take action right away. Especially if there is more than one review website affected, it’s imperative that you attempt to get them removed as quickly as possible. However, it’s not as simple as writing a letter and getting it taken down. You’ll want to take a series of actions.

  • Flag the review: If it’s obviously fake, flag it as spam or contact the administrator of the site explaining the spam. This is always your first step – if you can get it taken care of through this route, it’s your best bet.
  • Go to your lawyer: If you’re sure it’s a chronic fake reviewer or competitor, you want to get your lawyer involved. You may need to consider a lawsuit; writing fake reviews is actually illegal.

Never Do It

Finally, the best way to handle fake reviews is to avoid retaliating against the company you suspect to have put you down. It’s not smart to fire back with a fake review of your own, nor should you cause a media storm over the problem. Instead, focus on the positive.

By simply directing your efforts to maintaining your impeccable customer service, you can work on getting more and better reviews to outweigh the one or two bad ones.

Fake reviews are unfortunately a reality for many businesses. However, if you take the right steps and handle it correctly, you can remedy the problem with little to no negative effects.

Image © Tommaso Lizzul – Fotolia.com

Jessica sanders is a professional blogger. As the marketing copyeditor of Resource Nation, she writes about small business, focusing on topics such as email marketing.

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Carl November 26, 2012, 4:15 am

    Everybody should be really careful, fake or not a review can always be misleading or good company that offer service or product may always disappoint different customers.

  • Shirley
    Twitter:
    November 7, 2012, 3:18 am

    Come on! Who wants a fake review knowing that many fake reviews may be labeled as spam. Nothing beats a genuine review.

  • Amar November 6, 2012, 2:40 pm

    Hello,

    Thanks for share such a nice article, the message is quite clear, value your reader. don’t cheat them rather teach them

  • Jack November 5, 2012, 3:09 am

    Fake review is as good as spamming someone’s page or blog. We need to be careful about this. However, there are so many wordpress plugins available online to keep away spammers. One needs to pay more attention on these fake reviews and remove them if they are offensive.

  • Bree October 31, 2012, 11:07 pm

    Jeremy Stoppelman CEO of Yelp is a real winner. Well, no, not really. This man runs a company that not only thrives on negative attention, but refuses to respond to legitimate concerns.

    Don’t take my word for it. See here for yourself what others are saying about this company:

    http://m.yelp.com/biz/yelp-san-francisco

  • James
    Twitter:
    October 31, 2012, 7:19 am

    I’ve seen a lot of fake reviews. Both positive and negative. A lot times you can tell they are fake, just by the way you explained. The worst I think was a new eBook on amazon, had about 10 positive reviews and 6 negatives.

    All the positive ones were very close to same review short and to the point, with just a few words changed up. As for the negatives, you could they were real. All very different and all had a lot of good reasons not to read the book…
    James recently posted..What is Cloud ComputingMy Profile

  • bbrian017
    Twitter:
    October 29, 2012, 5:16 pm

    I’ve never really reviewed any products. I like to cal then spotlights. This way I don’t have to use the products or service before writing about it. It’s like a commercial if you will on t.v. This is how I treat my business plus customers when I spotlight their blogs on blog engage. I don’t review I spotlight. With spotlights I also don’t say the products or service is good I simply leave it up to my readers to buy or not buy.
    bbrian017 recently posted..Take Your Blog Engagement To The Next LevelMy Profile

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