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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : December 10, 2013

Bazaarvoice points the way to authentic reviews

New research from Bazaarvoice reveals that concerns exist among consumers that not all reviews they read are authentic, which is why the company has launched an Authentic Reviews Trust Mark.

by Helen Leggatt

Online reviews play an important role in today's ecommerce environment, and their value to consumers is significant - but only if they are authentic.

"Reviews are a proxy for a live experience that can't otherwise be replicated online, and that means they must be authentic to be useful," says Lisa Pearson, chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice.

"The Authentic Reviews Trust Mark is a signpost that helps people understand that the content they are reading is real. Trust remains one of the few constants that inspire people to openly share their experiences, which is why we have worked hard to create a system that helps to safeguard trust between companies and consumers."

Bazaarvoice recently conducted a survey among 3,000 adults in the U.S. and U.K. and found that 71% and 70% respectively read consumer reviews before making a purchase - more than any other content type considered.

However, half (48% U.S. and 50% U.K.) believe one or more of the reviews they read online is fake, and more than half of all respondents believe companies manipulate their reviews by removing negative comments.

To build consumer trust in online reviews, authenticity must be built in. More than 80% of survey respondents in both countries said they would feel more trusting of reviews if they knew they had been screened for "fraud, moderated, and displayed by a neutral, credible third party". Furthermore, 55% of U.S. and 45% of U.K. respondents said they would be more trusting of reviews that had been passed through both a technology filter AND human analysis. Technology filters alone were not enough, according to 15% of respondents.

And, that's where the Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark comes in. A distinctive logo (as per image above) alongside reviews tells consumers that the reviews are managed by a third party and not the brand or retailer. On mouse-over, an information box appears that explains the reviews "comply with the Bazaarvoice Authenticity Policy, which is supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis".

"Earning consumer confidence and trust in everything we do is of the utmost importance to us at Samsung," says Kristin Ganong, vice president of digital marketing at Samsung Electronics North America. "That's why we're excited to be among the very first companies that can assure consumers through the Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark, a system that has been designed to guarantee the authenticity of consumer reviews, that all reviews on are the genuine voice of our consumers."

Tags: consumer survey, product marketing, product reviews, trust mark

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