Move to end fake customer reviews online
Bazaarvoice, Inc. (the network connecting brands and retailers to the authentic voices of consumers wherever they shop, has the availability of the Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark.
The first-of-its-kind mark proactively identifies consumer reviews that comply with Bazaarvoice’s Authenticity Policy in an effort to help ensure they are genuine, unbiased, and transparent. Clients who display the Authentic Reviews Trust Mark indicate their dedication to authentic consumer feedback and signal to consumers that the review content on their pages is safeguarded by sophisticated anti-fraud technology and industry-leading best practices.
While consumers continue to place a high value on user reviews, doubts persist regarding the integrity of review content, regardless of the type of website where it is displayed. The company surveyed 3,000 adult consumers across the United States and United Kingdom in November 2013. Seventy-one percent of U.S. respondents and 70 percent in the UK said that they read consumer reviews before making a purchase decision—more than any other content type considered. However, 48 and 50 percent of respondents in the U.S. and UK, respectively, believe one or more of the reviews they read online is fake. Similarly, more than half of all respondents stated that they believe companies remove negative reviews.
The survey’s respondents also clearly indicated the steps companies can take to reduce doubts regarding the authenticity of reviews. For example,
More than 80 percent of respondents in both the U.S. and U.K. state that they would feel more trusting of reviews if they know the reviews were screened for fraud, moderated, and displayed by a neutral, credible third party.
55 percent of US respondents and 45 percent in the UK also say they are more trusting of reviews that have passed through a technology filter and human analysis. Fewer than 15 percent of all respondents say a technology filter alone is sufficient.
In addition, respondents say they would be more trusting of reviews if they know specific actions are taken to protect reviews from a variety of fraudulent and inauthentic practices:
Free from fraud and spam: 50 percent of US respondents and 49 percent of those in the UK say they would be more trusting of reviews if they know fraud detection technology is used to identify the submission source of all reviews.
Free from edits, classification, and alteration: More than half of all respondents in the US and UK would be more trusting of reviews if they know practices are in place to ensure reviews are not altered in any way by anyone other than the original author. In addition, 46 and 47 percent of US and UK respondents, respectively, want to know that reviews are not filtered, edited or deleted because they are negative or are lower rated.
Transparent: More than one-third of respondents in the US and UK would be more trusting of reviews if they know policies exist to prevent a brand or retailer from directly asking for positive reviews, or to disclose that a consumer was offered an incentive, such as a sample or discount, in exchange for providing an unbiased review.
The Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark comprehensively addresses these consumer-identified concerns and solutions. The inclusion of the distinctive “b:” logo clearly indicates that reviews are managed by a third party, as opposed to the brand or retailer. A mouse-over text box informs the user that the reviews displayed on the page—in aggregate—“comply with the Bazaarvoice Authenticity Policy, which is supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis.” Together, the Authenticity Policy and the processes that support it help Bazaarvoice to prevent the display of a wide variety of fraudulent content, such as commercial messages, automated submissions, degrading content from a competitor or self-promotion, as well as inauthentic behavior such as editing and “cherry-picking” reviews or posting reviews without proper disclosures when required.