Product reviews posted online are some of the strongest marketing tools of eCommerce. A good google review by a person who buys a product is one of the best endorsements. In fact, research indicates that 95% of online readers will rely on a legitimate review before committing to a purchase.
Conversely, 94% of consumers claim that a bad review was enough to keep them away from a product or brand. In other words, it is rather clear. A bad google review can do damage to an online business.
Thankfully, many online entrepreneurs can remedy this problem by looking into customer service problems, product issues, complaints, and other issues. Businesses can use these feedback mechanisms to improve products and services.
Unfortunately, the online selling playfield can become unscrupulous. It is not uncommon for businesses to find negative google reviews that are conjured. Rivals sellers and displeased customers can harm people’s business via these dubious reviews. (Read Google Search Captcha)
For many in the online business community, these fake posts can be difficult to take down. Here are some proven tips that help online sellers deal with fake reviews. They share sound advice on how to fight back whenever they encounter false publicity on Google.
Is It a Fake Review – Discerning the Bogus Post
Besides the negative fake review, there are other forms of this feedback mechanism. For instance, some entrepreneurs solicit the services of fake positive reviews. This is not only unethical but generally a bad idea.
The most dangerous consequence is the legal ramifications of using these fake posts. Some platforms are aware of this and are on the lookout for hired seller reviews. If caught, they could face lawsuits.
Here are some ways businesses can identify fake google reviews to protect their online reputation.
Some Simple But Effective Ways to Spot a Red Flag for Fake Reviews
The Devil Is In the Details
One of the best ways to describe a product is if the encounter with it is experiential. Thus, a real review will have details that a consumer can only write if there indeed was a genuine experience.
Phony reviews will ramble in general statements. They will lack specific feedback and details. Genuine google reviews about a product will be able to point out some flaws, but not necessarily in a manner that is detrimental to a business. (Read How To See My Google Reviews)
Real reviews about service-oriented feedback are likely to have particular things to say. For instance, a restaurant review will have words like ‘pricing,’ ‘reservations,’ or ‘specialty dishes.’
Mock-up reviews will rely on more general things like location, ambiance, or other general comments you can easily pick up from other reviews or blogs.
Real Reviews Focus on the “What”
Real reviews focus more on the “what,” meaning they can confidently describe their experience with nouns. For instance, a review about a toy will state the parts, their functionality, and how tactile the object is. There will be clear and declarative statements and no iffy ones.
Fake reviews will instead try to write with many verbs, using words like they “think,” they “consider,” they “feel,” or they “guess.”
A Fake Review Will Use First-Person Pronouns
The tendency for a phony reviewer is to use the first-person point of view. In their hopes to hide that they are faking it, they compensate by using first-person pronouns like “me” and “I” a lot.
Phony Reviews Have No Middle Ground
As mentioned earlier in this post, a real review can be critical without being disparaging or damaging. Bogus google reviews will either be terrible and critical or the direct opposite, singing praises. The five-star reviews system is meant to provide nuance for legitimate reviewers.
As such, a real review can hover around the 5 stars somewhere in the middle. This is not to say a 5 star or one-star rating is always a red flag. Just look into the review more if you encounter one of these extremes. Such ratings could also be due to a subjective opinion, as opposed to an objective one.
Who Is the Reviewer?
What is the reviewer’s name? Good or reputable reviewers will be invested in the reviewing game. They will have reputations that are built on time and a wealth of experience. If a review emanates from some obscure source or personality, look into the profile.
Phony ones will also tend to use “template” online reviews, meaning most of their work will look very identical in wording and format. A bonafide reviewer will be more unpredictable and natural with the feedback.
Eliminating Fake Reviews from Google
Most of those on the receiving end of reviews should keep these guidelines in mind to discern whether a review is fake or real. They will also be dispassionate as they respond. Once certain that a review is bogus, these feedback posts need to be removed.
Unfortunately, Google does not have a way to tell if these reviewers are part of your database. They will also not take your word for it (which is understandable). It is also almost impossible to ascertain an online identity since the use of pseudonyms is permitted.
To react to these dubious characters, Google provides some general advice. They recommend that a response be direct and concise, be pleasant and courteous, and defend your product or service. Likewise, the tone of the response would be as if it were being addressed to a real customer. (Learn How to Leave an Anonymous Google Review)
Such a response would resemble this brief paragraph:
We have read the review and wish to address the issues. Upon checking our files, there is no previous record of your purchasing history with us. Neither can we establish your identity based on your given name in our database.
If you have done business with our company previously, we desire to look deeper into these allegations. To further assist you, kindly get in touch with [name] at [email] so that we can find a resolution to this complaint(s) without further delay. Thank you.”
After making such a response, go ahead and flag the review to indicate an “open-case” pending further action (which indeed is the situation).
Other remedies available to online entrepreneurs dealing with unwanted Google reviews are (but not limited to):
- Requesting the author to delete the negative review,
- Using legal action against the author of the review.
If a business has gotten some bad reviews, well, that is part of the ball game. Bad reviews are inevitable, as the adage “you can’t please everybody” still holds.
However, false google reviews are entirely different, and action should be taken against these posts immediately.