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

Luxury vs. Millennials and Their Technology: The Ritz-Carlton (By Julia Shorr)

Embodying the finest luxury experience, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC has been established since 1983. In 1998, Marriott International purchased the brand offering it more opportunity for growth while being independently owned and operated. They are known for their enhanced service level as the motto states, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. The luxury brand now carries 97 hotels and resorts internationally and is attempting to keep the aspects of luxury while keeping up with the trends of the technologically improving generations. The Varying Demographics of the Target Market The Ritz-Carlton’s typical target market includes: business executives, corporate, leisure travelers, typically middle-aged persons and elders, and families from the upper and upper-middle class section of society .   This infers a large range of types of travelers in which all are similar in that they are not opposed to spending extra for the luxurious ambiance. However, with

The challenges of SB 93 (California Senate Bill No. 93) will impose on the employers and their human resource management team (by Brittany Schaffer)

The COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, and it has caused massive changes within a short period of time. One of the most rememberable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was that businesses had to come to a complete halt, forcing them to lay off employees. California's unemployment rates went up.  Now that the stay-at-home orders have lifted, people start to come out. Businesses are now reopening, looking to rehire their laid-off employees. Before the pandemic, employers had the option of recalling only a certain number of laid-off employees they would want to rehire based on employees' job performance. That option had been changed after Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law - Senate Bill 93, which went into effect on April 16th, 2021. The California Senate Bill No. 93 (SB 93) According to SB 93, companies in specific industries, mainly the hospitality industry, have the obligation to provide job opportunities in written form to qualified employees being laid off due to COVI

The complicated situation of tattoos in the workplace (by Harry Law)

Tattoos are a form of expression that convey the individuality of their owners. They can represent a multitude of things, like a tie to a family member, a favorite quote with a special meaning, or even a favorite cartoon character. Tattoos also can carry great cultural and/or religious significance. Every tattoo is unique and says something about the individual person who wears it. The problem that many companies face is when a tattoo is considered appropriate and when it should be covered.  Employees are after all the faces of a company, so the tattoos on their bodies are connected to and represent that company as well. Some workplaces have instituted rules and regulations when it comes to their employees’ tattoos, but there can be negative consequences when a company goes too far in telling their employees what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. The Disney Company has recently changed its policy on tattoos. Disney’s goal is to create a magical, fantasy experience for their