Have you ever purchased something or decided to work with a business because of their excellent online reviews? What if those reviews were fake or the consumers were paid to write them? Suddenly, you might wish you had gone with another option instead. As a business owner, have you ever had someone leave you a negative review because of a personal issue they have with you? Some businesses have even received fake negative reviews from friends of their competitors, simply to hurt their business’ online reputation. It’s a pretty upsetting phenomenon, but luckily, there’s an end in sight.
The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on these fake online reviews, because they’re becoming a big issue for businesses and consumers alike. According to a study conducted last year by Stanford, roughly 20% of Yelp reviews were written by people who were paid by the company to leave them a positive review. The FTC is working to break this cycle by punishing those businesses who are paying people for fake reviews. In fact, just this week, the FTC filed a federal complaint against New York-based weight loss supplement company for “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” The FTC stated that this company and its owner paid a third party website to give outstanding Amazon reviews of their weight-loss supplements. Because of this, they were bumped to the top of Amazon’s listings for weight-loss pills, even though they didn’t belong there.
As you can probably guess, Amazon is no fan of these fake reviews and that is why they have a “verified purchase” feature on their site. When someone leaves a review of a product on Amazon, they will have the words “Amazon Verified Purchase” written next to their review to show other consumers that Amazon has verified this is a real customer who has actually purchased the product from their site.
So, how does FreshLime tie in to all of this? Similar to Amazon, we are able to match a real transaction to the review left by your customer. There’s no question about whether a review is legitimate or not when it comes through FreshLime’s platform, because we have the data to back it up. Google, Facebook and Yelp are able to do this through trusted parties that can ensure your reviews are being left by real customers. FreshLime is among these trusted parties, and we have the software to ensure your business is receiving real, hard-earned and valuable positive reviews online.
Why does this matter to your business? The ‘fake reviews’ trend is no friend to businesses. Not only does it cause consumers to buy products without really knowing what they’re getting, it also hurts the businesses themselves. If Google finds out that a review left to your business is fake (i.e: paid for or written by a friend who has never actually used your business), they might punish your business by deleting some, or all, of your positive online reviews. These fake reviews also hurt businesses because if your competitors are paying for their reviews, their online reputation might start to shine brighter than yours. It’s a bad situation all around, and FreshLime is among those helping to eliminate the problems caused by fake reviews.
Verified reviews are the future of business’ online reputations, and FreshLime has the tools and platform to ensure that your business keeps up. We’re a step ahead of the game when it comes to protecting our business owners and their consumers from the damaging effects of fake reviews. If you’d like to learn more about how FreshLime can help your business to increase your positive online reviews in a real, honest and safe way, set up a free demo today!