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The case of the fake customer reviews: The industry responds

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“As you might imagine I’m pretty passionate about ensuring that shoppers do continue to trust user reviews”, says Reevoo COO Luke Errington. “I wrote a guest article for Internet Retailing magazine back in March 2007. Interestingly enough we warned then about risk of abuse of Amazon’s review system.”

“At Reevoo we help people decide what to buy with genuine customer reviews. The word ‘genuine’ has been somewhat lost in the past, but the Belkin story has very much brought things to the forefront. Our reviews are displayed 50m times a month, and the model ensures that all of the reviews we publish (eg on behalf of Tesco Direct, Dixons, Currys, Vodafone) have definitely come from someone who owns the product. We are committed to publishing all the reviews: good and bad.”

And Bazaarvoice chief marketing officer Sam Decker has written a detailed blog post addressing the issues raised by the Belkin furore.

“Here at Bazaarvoice,” he writes, “we take authenticity very seriously and employ a wide variety of ways to check for fraud and discourage cheating. Account verification, purchase verification (optional), IP address, time/date stamp data, text analysis (human + technology) and a reach of reviews across many retailers give us a variety of methods to catch this stuff.”

“For over three years,” he adds, “we’ve managed user generated content for nearly 300 major retailers and manufacturers. We’ve moderated (meaning read by humans) millions of reviews. Through the human moderation, technology, and data analysis testing for fraud we’ve found that there is a fraction (less than 0.1%) of reviews that appear fraudulent.”

What do you think? Has the Belkin fake reviews scandal made a difference to your opinion of user reviews and ratings?

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