Thursday, May 24, 2012

Service offering FAKE REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS is on the rise. Big time.

So, all those review sites you use to help make decisions about what to buy, what restaurants to go to, what hotels in which to stay.  How reliable are they?

Not very it seems.  It's called "opinion spam" and it's exploding.

Just do a search on the recent phenom website using the search term “testimonial” or “review” and there are almost 5,000 results of people offering to “write great testimonial for your product or service”. From a NY Times article about the same topic “...On another forum, Digital Point, a poster wrote, “I will pay for positive feedback on TripAdvisor.” A Craigslist post proposed this: “If you have an active Yelp account and would like to make very easy money please respond.”(1)(2) 

There are tens-of-thousands of ads out there all over the internet of people requesting you to write bogus reviews for their business and people offering to do the same.

There are also dozens of video testimonial websites offering similar services but in video.  They market themselves using phrases such as “actors”, “script writers”, etc.  One website boasts “Our actors are always well briefed about your product or service. All of our testimonials feature fluent English with uniqueness”  On another video testimonial websites FAQ reads the following question and answer:  “Where are your actors from?   Our actors are based in the US and have English as their first language. They are not professional actors, which makes the videos natural and believable.”

There are too many to list, and many of them have launched in the past 6 months.  None of them voice any concern for real or verified testimonials, quite the opposite actually...  So buyer beware, if the testimonials are not third party verified by a reputable testimonial verification company, it's safe to assume that they're fake.  And if a company is using fake reviews, that most likely means that they can't get good reviews from real customers...

So, how do you prove that your testimonials and reviews are the real deal?  Have them submitted via an independent testimonial verification service such as Testimonial Shield.  In business since 2006 Testimonial Shield can do everything from help you gather testimonials from your customers (written and/or video), display them on your website via their testimonial widget accompanied by their trust seal that lets your site visitors know that the reviews they're reading are real.  They can even send your verified reviews to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, and more.


1 comment:

G.A. said...

It's sad but true. I have looked at some of the algorithms that have been created and none are very impressive as they all have huge limitations and are easily circumvented... I think the only way to confirm the authenticity of a review is to have them manually confirmed via human to human interaction...