While top internet reputation companies know that online reviews are important, they also know that they have a dark side to them as well. With anyone possessing the ability to post an online review, we have found in recent years the validity of them can be up and down. Meaning, unless they are properly policed by the third-party site, they can tend to be invalid.
As we stated above, anyone can post an online review. So, let’s take a look at a couple different reasons the review can be bad. To start off, we would like to point out there are two sides to a review being bad. If you have a review that is negative, that is fine. However, if that is an invalid source then you have a problem. The same is true for positive reviews. Online consumers look to review companies to make certain that the reviews left by others are in good faith. If they are not, then the review becomes worthless. So, let’s say you run a company that shovels snow (either by hand or machine, it makes no difference). Now, you have been providing a service for a couple of years now and your customer base is growing. At the end of each season, you encourage your clients to review their service to better help you respond to their needs in the future. So far everything is on the up and up. Now, let’s say for instance that you have a competitor enter the market and he wants to take your area over. He can make many different fake accounts and give your company one-star reviews and say pretty much anything he wants. Granted, that takes a lot of time and planning, but it could be done. The same could be done where the new company props his company up with five-star reviews. Either way, the reviews do not give future consumers the proper picture of how either company actually performs. In a recent study, Yelp has found that up to 16% of online reviews are fake. Now that may not sound like a big number, but it is a bit disconcerting to consumers that want to find out about a company prior to doing business with them.
Another way that reviews can have their validity called into question is that there are businesses in Asia and India that will sell their services to companies. By this, we mean that if you are a company and have poor reviews, you can buy positive reviews from another company. These companies have workers that will spend hundreds of hours a week going to all the review sites and giving you a positive review. Again, this can be bad for the end user just trying to make an educated decision on which company they should use to put in their pool (for example).
While most third-party sites do their very best to police reviews, top internet reputation companies know it is virtually impossible to erase all of them. There are too many people that will sell their services to write a positive or negative review in exchange for a little monetary incentive. So, make certain that you take your online review site with a grain of salt as you may not be seeing the whole picture.
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