Study: People want consequences for fake reviews

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Researchers with Bazaarvoice are warning brands and merchants to take a hard look at the online reviews for their products to ensure those reviews are legitimate and truthful. That’s because a growing number of shoppers think only verified purchasers should be allowed to post reviews online (42%). Overall, the research shows that most (73%) shoppers surveyed think retailers and brands need to take steps to combat the proliferation of fake reviews.

What kind of punishment should brands with fake reviews face? Those surveyed believe fines of up to 14% of their annual revenue should be enforced against brands that don’t police the reviews of their products.

“Fake reviews can be devastating to a brand. Simply put, once shoppers suspect a company of having fake reviews, trust is in question. In an era of misinformation and fake news, brand integrity is essential to building consumer trust, which directly translates to profit,” said Joe Rohrlich, CRO at Bazaarvoice. “Brands and retailers need to embrace authenticity and transparency and continuously work to combat fake reviews. Shoppers are hardwired to seek word-of-mouth, and we need to ensure they can confidently turn to ratings and reviews as trusted sources.”

Just how big a deal are fake reviews? The impact can be quite heavy against merchants and other brands. The Bazaarvoice study shows that most consumers (85%) who lose trust in a brand will avoid them in the future; 66% say poor quality products cause them to lose trust with brands and 43% say fake/fraudulent reviews cause them to lose faith in a brand. In addition, researchers found:

• 31% of consumers say they won’t buy products with fake reviews
• 28% say they wouldn’t trust other reviews after experiencing a fake review
• 59% say reviews with similar wording make them think the reviews are fake

More data from the Bazaarvoice study can be accessed here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.