Skip to main content

What Can We Do to Stop the Spread of Fake Reviews?

Recently, I had a phone conversation with David Streitfeld at The New York Times. We shared our opinions about fake online reviews. He later published a report entitled “In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5” and cited some of my comments. After reading David’s news article, I can’t help asking myself --- are we (the hospitality industry) trapping ourselves by paying an agent for bogus reviews?

The Web 2.0 technology provides a platform (i.e. social media) for people to exchange user-generated content on the Internet. Over the years, I have heard that many small businesses benefit from the Word-of-Mouth (WOM) effect created on social media, and I also notice companies’ increasing attention about online reviews. If everyone plays a “fair” game, online reviews should be a good thing for everyone because companies will be striving to gain authentic positive online reviews by delivering quality products and exceptional services. What happens if somebody pays an agent for bogus reviews?

David Streitfeld suggests that companies like Amazon, Hilton, and TripAdvisor are making efforts to limit the fake reviews on their sites. I am glad to see what has been done, but I do not think that kind of “control” will be sufficient enough to stop the spread of fake reviews. We need to do more! I urge that those businesses that create fake reviews stop what they are doing and that customers need to post authentic reviews with their social media accounts. I have two seasons to support my suggestions:

First and foremost, faking will eventually hurt a business’ bottom line in the long term. Let’s say a crappy restaurant pays $5 dollar for every 5-star review created and accumulates 50 good reviews (at a cost of $250). New customers will probably eat in this place because of its “good” reviews. With a 5-star rating, however, customers will have a very high expectation. So, unless the restaurant can deliver 5-star food and service, customers will very likely feel disappointed with the place and stop coming again. Then what? They will probably “broadcast” their bad experience on social media because they are so disappointed. The crappy restaurant may then need to pay more cash to create more 5-star reviews to “balance” out the negative WOM effect. How much does this restaurant need to budget for fake reviews in the long term? I suggest the restaurant focus on delivering good service and food, and then encourage customers to post authentic reviews --- that’s the right long-term strategy.

Then, it is very important that customers post authentic comments with their social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. By doing so, they not only “magnify” the WOM effect in their social networks, but also allow other customers to easily distinguish their authentic reviews from the fake reviews --- I assume that many fake reviews are generated by anonymous users. Plus, companies like Amazon allow customers to rate the helpfulness of the online reviews --- those who write fake reviews with their real social media accounts will eventually “ruin” their own credibility. Would you agree?

What other solutions can prevent companies from hiring an agent to post fake 5-star reviews?

Relevant discussions:
How much can we trust those online reviews?
Who shall we trust in terms of hotel or restaurant reviews?
A new full time position: Someone monitoring online reviews and comments
Respond to online negative reviews
Seeking online feedback from customers: How proactive can it be?

References:
The picture was downloaded from iDownloadblog.com.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yammer: A Social Networking Site Exclusively for the Workplace

Effective internal communications among employees are related to some desirable organizational outcomes, such as robust morale, a clear vision, low turnover, and high employee engagement. The question is what platform can serve the purpose. This ABC News video introduces “ Yammer ,” an exclusive internal communication tool for companies. A user must use a valid company e-mail address to sign up for an account. Once an account is validated, the user will be led to the company page that is pretty much like a Facebook page. The difference is that only the users whose e-mail addresses share the same domain can see the wall and communicate with each other. I have no question about whether Yammer could be a useful internal communication tool for companies, but I just wonder: how many social networking sites do people need for communication? Why people have to “create” so many platforms or channels for “effective communications”? To many people, Facebook is only for “friends,” whe

The 7 Ps marketing mix of home-sharing services: Insights from over one million Airbnb reviews

The 7 Ps marketing mix framework is a widely used managerial tool that helps businesses identify the principal components of a service product. The 7 P elements include Product, Promotion, Price, Place, Participant, Physical Evidence, and Process.   The 7 Ps framework can assist marketers in making decisions regarding segmentation, positioning, and differentiation. Even for the same type of products with different brands, marketers can still drive higher sales through the improvement of a product’s marketing mix.     The empirical study about 7 Ps of home-sharing services   Building upon the 7 Ps marketing mix framework, I led a research team in a big-data, supervised machine learning analysis of over 1.14 million English reviews of 37,092 Airbnb listings in San Francisco (SFO) and New York City (NYC). We aimed to discover new meaningful business intelligence through the analysis of an immense quantity of online review information that is created by consumers in the cyber marketplace

Can leisure and work-from-home demand stimulate extended-stay hotel growth beyond COVID-19?

The lodging industry is   struggling   to fill the empty rooms in 2020. For months, U.S. hotels are running at an occupancy of 50% or lower.     Not every segment   suffers the same impact from the pandemic, however. Demand for   home-sharing  facilities had already bounced back over the summer. Airbnb reported a higher booking than last year. Marriott’s home-sharing arm is also doing well, seeing a sevenfold increase in booking over last summer.     Similar to what a residential rental or home-sharing facility   offers , guestrooms in extended-stay hotels also feature a full-size kitchen or a kitchenette. Extended-stay hotels are designed for travelers who want to stay at a “home” when away from home. A guestroom at the Residence Inn Miami Sunny Isles Beach   Extended-stay hotels vs. home-sharing facilities     Because COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect human contacts, people are highly encouraged to avoid unnecessary human interactions, leading to more   con