What are the challenges of reading reviews online?

Claud Mccoid
5 Ways to Get More Online Reviews on Your Website - LBSWebsoft Blog

One of the most reliable ways to know if you should patronize a company or not is by reading reviews about the company. Review websites provide us with a platform to inform others about the companies that we have patronized and how much satisfaction we got from patronizing the company. Thus, others who want products or services that we have bought can see our reviews where we detailed them and know what they should expect with any company that they patronize. In most cases, they would be able to make informed decisions to patronize companies with positive reviews. However, some challenges come with completely relying on reviews. This article will discuss some of such challenges to further help people know to make better-informed decisions about companies that they should patronize.

Positive reviews by employees
Since companies know about the importance of positive reviews for their organization and want to have such reviews for the benefit of convincing customers that they are reputable and worth visiting, the business owner might decide to add positive reviews on the reviews platform. His employees might also take the same initiative or he might instruct them to. Thus, individuals can try to rig reviews in favor of their business by dropping reviews for their business. They will end up leaving a review that will favor them and it would skew the ratings to favor them.

Negative reviews by competitors
In some cases, competitors can also leave a negative review for a company that is in the same niche as they are. This could be because they have gotten a negative review or they notice that some people that would have patronized them are patronizing the other company. Hence, they will drop a negative review for the other company to reduce their star rating and to discourage customers from patronizing the company they have dropped a negative review for. They are likely to believe that some of those customers that would be discouraged from patronizing that company based on the review will patronize them instead.

Purchase of reviews
Another thing that you need to be careful about when reading reviews is people who pay an individual to fill several positive reviews for their company or pay an individual to frill several negative reviews for their major competitors. A writer or other freelancers can be employed for this purpose. The freelancer could leave, 100, 200, or as many reviews as they concluded with the person who gave them the assignment. Hence, the company will have many positive reviews or negative reviews that will significantly affect its rating and either encourage or discourage customers. 

One of the ways that you can avoid being influenced by negative reviews is by trying to identify fake reviews. In most cases, fake reviews are left by new accounts, meaning if you can compare, the review would have been left a few minutes or hours after the account was open. 

You should also look out for many positive or negative reviews being posted almost at the same time. Imagine a company that has been getting an average of 2 reviews in 7 days suddenly having 200 reviews in 3 days. That is an easy sign of manipulation.

You can also drop positive reviews for companies you have patronized so that your review will be visible as well. Since it will be a real review, it could help some discerning people notice the sincerity in it and help them make the right decision.

In some cases, you could also notice from the way of writing of the reviewer. If it was physically, we would be looking out for handwriting. However, people also have a writing style. When you notice more than 2 to 3 comments that seem to be written by the same person, then you can suspect that it is the same person and some form of rigging.

Reputable reviews companies make an effort to make their platform reputable. For instance, they could use IP addresses to make it impossible for a person to drop 2 reviews about the same company within a day or even a month.  That way it would be more difficult for someone who has been paid to drop several different reviews at the same time.

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