“Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” – Abraham Lincoln
Did you see what I did there?
Of course, Abraham Lincoln never said that in his lifetime.
A lot of people did say it though, including Barbara Streisand in an award-winning song. The point is, we should not treat everything we read on the Internet as Gospel truth. There is not much explanation needed to this as we all know this in one way or another.
However, this is especially true for online review sites where we usually go to seek validation whenever we want to purchase something or avail of a service online or offline.
These online reviews are something that we should especially believe less and here are three important reasons why:
Reason #1: Self-interest
It is in every business owner’s interest to achieve the best online rating possible.
A best of product review site like AuthorityAdviser may claim and be known for giving out honest reviews. However, we must not discount the reality that businesses will go to any length to achieve the best online rating possible even to the point of manipulating reviews to make the business look good in the online community.
Excellent reviews do not only push your business further up the rankings but will also help it land higher results in online search engines. Because of these amazing gains, most business owners resort to planting reviews by making their employees to write as many excellent reviews as they can.
Some even go to greater lengths by hiring people to write five-star reviews about their products and services on Amazon, and there are even those who pay people to write negative reviews about their competitors’ business and use it to their advantage. In fact, a marketplace for fake reviews exists and operates fairly well. A lot of fake review writers offer their services at very low rates which is unquestionably very attractive to a lot of business owners.
Now that you know this, I’m sure you would never look at online reviews the same way again. But if this didn’t faze you and you’re still willing to accept online reviews at face value, try reading this next one
Reason #2: You Can’t Trust Your Own Judgement
Perhaps you still choose to see the good in everything and you think “Well, now that I know this, then I’ll just look at the genuine reviews and disregard the fake ones.”
If only it was so easy to spot fake reviews though. A research made by Cornell University would make you think otherwise. The algorithm of the software they created to detect fake online reviews spotted the fakes with a 90 percent success rate.
This is good news, right? However, the research also revealed that regular people who try to do the same were far less successful. Computers win again and unfortunately, typical consumers don’t necessarily spend on software to see if they should buy a blending machine or not— they just hop on to see the reviews.
But what about real people who really write real reviews?
Reason #3: Not Even Customer Testimonials Can Be Trusted 100%
Well, even real people who make real reviews could be fake too…all for the DISCOUNTS!
There are even two sides to this. Some companies offer their customers deals, freebies and discounts if they give them a positive review online. This inspires customers to lie to their teeth because that’s just how powerful discounts are to some people.
On the other hand, customers can also give a good service a harsh, negative feedback with the goal of getting money off the bill. In this case, reviews are used by deceitful customers as a tool for blackmail.
We now live in a world where every transaction or product can be rated, and giving stars to products and services have become an essential aspect of consumer rights, online reviews—whether genuine or fake—are here to stay.
At best, they can serve as a helpful indication of a service or product’s quality; but more often than not, they are almost meaningless and even deceptive.
The best thing that we can do is to take these online reviews with a large grain of salt.