News by Topic
- Search Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Loyalty Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Social Marketing
- Viral Marketing
- Trends & Ideas
- Internet Marketing 101
Research: The reality behind deceptive product reviews
A new report suggests the phenomenon of 'deceptive reviews' is far more widespread than expected and perpetrated, not by shady gangs of rogue reviewers or competitors, but by existing customers.
According to a new report, 'Deceptive Reviews: The Influential Tail', written by MIT Sloan professor Duncan Simester and co-authored with researcher Eric Anderson of Northwestern University, negative reviews are "not just due to the strategic actions of firms bolstering their image or competitors trying to damage that image. Instead, the phenomenon extends to individual customers who have no financial incentive to influence product ratings".
Simester and Anderson researched reviews posted on a well-known private-label clothing firm, of which there were thousands. The firm in question does not allow other retailers to sell its products.
Unlike a hotels or restaurants, the huge number of products and competitors in the apparel market means the motivation to write negative reviews about a single competitors' product is weak, and the impact on sales negligible.
It was surprising, therefore, to find that 5% of product reviews on the clothing website were written by existing customers who had never purchased the product being reviewed. These reviews were far more negative, with far lower product ratings than the remaining reviews written by customers.
Furthermore, these 'deceptive reviews' could not be attributed to a small group of rogue reviewers or a competitor bent on steering custom their way.
"It is very unlikely that the effect is due to agents or employees of competing retailers submitting negative reviews to induce substitution to their own products," concludes the report.
"Instead the low rating effect appears to be due to actual customers engaging in this behavior for their own intrinsic interests. In this respect, the findings represent evidence that the manipulation of product reviews is not limited to strategic behavior by competing firms."
Image via Shutterstock
- Report: Over half of Millennials have or will use Bots
- Report: Finances key to engaging Boomers
- Top 3 tips to strengthen travel-based ad strategy
- Report IDs differences in how people use social
- Ad Roundup: Platform expansions and a partnership
- Survey: Hispanic SMBs show strong optimism
- Ad Roundup: Partnership, integration to bring brands more
- Report: Super Bowl ads drove traffic into stores
Featured White Papers
- Learn Why 83% of Advertisers Are Reporting Superior Outcomes With People-Based Ads
Traditional digital display advertising doesn't work. The information in this report is based on an online survey of 350 senior...
- 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study
To build a world-class marketing program, it's crucial to compare yourself to the best performers - but competitor data can...
- 10 Ways to Use Customer Lifetime Value to Reinvent Your Marketing Strategy
CLV insights can help you to attract high-margin customers, target clusters of customers with untapped value, and retain high-value customers...
- 16 Innovative Loyalty Programs of 2016
Engaging customers in a loyalty program is no easy feat. Read how 16 brands grabbed headlines in 2016 by launching...