Writing fake reviews, buying fake reviews and offering bribes for good reviews are all major no-nos. You’ll find yourself in dangerous waters by doing any of these things. Positive reviews are great and can serve as a huge endorsement for your business because it can help to sway people to purchase your product or service who might otherwise be on the fence. However, faking positive reviews can cost you more than you think. Here’s why:
Fake reviews misguide customers and create unrealistic expectations. This can really hurt your business, especially if your company can’t live up to the false expectations created by a fake review. For example, if someone writes a fake review bragging about how great the customer service is at your resort and boasts about being waited on hand and foot but in reality your resort is under staffed and the employees are overworked and inattentive, the person who booked a room at your resort based on that review will be in for a shocker.
Reveal and Backlash
If the public finds out that people are writing fake reviews for your company, your reputation will instantly take a hit. Consumers will lose trust in your brand and once trust is gone, it’s very hard to get back. The reputation of your brand is one of your most important assets. It can take years, even decades to build a solid reputation, but it only takes a few fake reviews to lose it.
Legitimate reviews gauge your company’s performance and identifies where improvements can be made. You can learn a lot from real reviews. Many successful companies use reviews to identify new opportunities. However, if you’re bribing people for fake reviews or outright buying them, it’s hard to know how consumer’s really feel about your product or service.
Many sites have very strict rules about fake reviews and enforce serious consequences. For example, if TripAdvisor determines that there have been fraudulent reviews submitted for a property, a large red penalty notice, explaining that the property’s reviews are suspicious may appear on the listing page and that property may drop several pages in the TripAdvisor popularity index. Other site’s such as Amazon may take things a step further. Last year Amazon sued more than 1,000 people who were allegedly misleading Amazon’s customers by selling fake reviews of products.