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Consumers want brands and retailers fined for fake reviews
Thu, 10th Nov 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Australian consumers want brands and retailers fined for fake reviews with many wanting a fine of more than 20% of the business’ total revenue, according to a new report from Bazaarvoice.

The report explores the effect fake reviews and authenticity have on customer trust, and the subsequent actions shoppers take based on that trust. Brands and retailers need to embrace the fact that while allowing or creating fake reviews on their website may seem like an easy way to gain customers, they actually very much hurt businesses – and their bottom lines. 

“We’re well aware of the importance of UGC and the need to ensure that it is genuine and authentic,” says Nicolas Fillat, Marketing Business Leader, Customer Care and Feedback at Adeo. 

“To do this, we need a trusted third party and a partner with significant functional experience and expertise regarding reviews. Our partner Bazaarvoice comprehensively delivered on those requirements.” 

The report found that fake reviews break trust, with 52% of consumers said fake reviews make them lose trust in the brand. This loss of trust is costly, with 86% saying they would avoid using a brand again after losing trust in it, while 15% would leave a negative review, and 13% would post about the company on social media.  

According to the report, one fake review spoils them all, with 76% saying that if they notice a fake review for a product on a site, it would impact their trust in reviews for other products on the same site. It spoils the sale as well: If they suspect fake reviews, 55% wouldn’t buy the product, 53% wouldn’t trust the brand, 36% wouldn’t trust other reviews, and 30% wouldn’t buy from the site.  

People actually like negative reviews, the report found. Some 84% think negative reviews are either as or more important than positive ones. 

The report found people want rules for fake reviews. Some 67% think the retail industry needs a new set of standards to combat fake reviews. They want the standards to dictate that only verified customers be able to post reviews (62%), all products be tried and tested among legitimate consumers before launch (59%), daily reviews of customer content to weed out fake reviews (45%), and websites publish the reviews process or third party they use (37%).

They want consequences, too. More than half of Aussie consumers (52%) believe businesses should be fined anywhere between 10-30% of the revenue for brands in breach of these standards.

However, most don’t know what current laws are: 53% said they have no idea what their consumer rights are when it comes to fake reviews and 40% said that they have “a little bit of information” on the topic.

When UGC is trusted, it sells, according to the report. Some 41% of Australian consumers trust UGC when used in an ad as opposed to brands advertising without UGC (29%). In fact, people just under half (43%) like to see UGC everywhere they shop online. 
“Brand trust is one of the most valuable assets on the balance sheet,” says Zarina Stanford, Bazaarvoice CMO. 

“Harnessing the power of the voice of the customer is crucial for today’s always-on commerce.  Authentically posted reviews – both positive and negative – is by far the most powerful way to utilise the voice of your customer to earn trust and purchase conversion.”