Thinking about buying fake reviews? Think again.

It’s no secret: reviews make people buy stuff.  According to research, three-quarters of people read the reviews posted about products and services before considering buying them. It is estimated that positive comments from clients produce an average increase in sales of 18 percent and that consumers are likely to spend 31 percent more because of positive reviews. 

On the other hand, a low star-rating can, understandably, cause panic. If you’re not actively asking your customers for reviews, your review collection rate is likely to be pretty low. Not only that, but the ‘organic’ reviews you do have are much more likely to be negative than positive. This is when companies could seek a quick fix and look to buy fake reviews for their business. 

Sounds like you? Well, here are 3 reasons why you should never fall into the trap of buying fake reviews. 

Fake reviews are illegal.

Many countries are taking legal actions against the practice of buying fake reviews. But why are fake testimonials considered illegal?

First, they are not based on a real customer’s experience, which a testimonial must be. Second, they mislead the customer: claiming a happy customer exists when they don’t is already misleading itself, but whatever the testimonial claims – aka the content of the review – is also misleading. Third, it encourages customers to spend money on a product or service they otherwise might not, thereby financially defrauding the customer.

For these and several other reasons, fake reviews are considered false or deceptive advertising – and therefore against the law – and companies that allow this practice may face civil or criminal proceedings.

Fake reviews can get you censored

Review platforms are also taking measures against fake reviews. A lot of suspicious reviews have recently vanished from Google, and the search giant has explained that “these steps are necessary to ensure that the reviews appearing on Google are authentic, relevant, and useful.” Besides deleting the review, Google will also very quickly bump your My Business local search box out of the search results, so that you won’t even get found by your potential customers. 

Other platforms are also taking action. A number of businesses reported having had their account deleted from Yelp after they have been caught posting a fake review – no matter how many millions they were spending on advertising. 

Review websites can be pretty strict in their policies against fake reviews, so it’s definitely not worth a try.

Fake reviews undermine your customers’ trust

Credibility is a fundamental pillar of any successful business. By posting or paying for fake reviews, you are misleading consumers. If you get discovered, it’s actually worse than having no reviews. It can be potentially fatal for your business. 

So, will you get caught? Yes. Fake reviews are actually pretty easy to spot. They’re generally poorly-worded and not even particularly relevant to the company or service in question. You may also spot inconsistencies in the location of the reviewer compared to the location of the business they are reviewing.

Your customers are also pretty savvy. They’ll be looking around online on a number of different platforms for reviews, and any inconsistencies will be detected quickly. 

So how to keep it real?

While online reviews act as a powerful tool to drive more traffic to your local business, using fake reviews is unethical at best and illegal at worst. Luckily, there are some effective ways to encourage customers to leave (positive) reviews for your company’s products or services.

One of the best practices for review collection is sending to recent customers a review request via email or text, even better with a link that takes them directly to your business page on a relevant review site.

And most important: review your reviews. Read them, respond to them, take them seriously. Your potential customers are.

Do you want to know more about review collection practices, and how can you get more customers reviewing your business on widely-used websites such as Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor? Fill in the form below and a member of our team will get in touch shortly.