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Can Fake Customer Reviews Ruin Your Local Business For Real?
By Jessica Blunt | October 5, 2015

Online reviews are what customers refer to when they use the internet to shop around. Almost four out of five customers are likely to change their mind if they come across a negative review. To tell you the truth, they are more important for an e-commerce site to sell their products than product descriptions. Why? This is because it is where customers know they would surely find the genuine voice of other customers for real.

About 85% of people prefer looking up the internet for recommendations about a particular service before they purchase anything online. Hence, we see online reviews matter a lot for a business to grow and to build its reputation better. But then, if a positive review can help a business to motivate their clients’ purchasing decision, negative reviews too can blow a business out. That’s because 35% of the customers write a review to talk about their bad experience with a particular business service. Besides, a prominently displayed negative review is enough to make a person form a bad opinion regarding a particular business.


How Can Fake Reviews Harm Your Business?

#1 – They can destroy brand-customer loyalty forever

When Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota killed Zimbabwe’s most beloved lion named Cecil, little did he know that the public would lash their wrath on him openly online. People online, flooded his dental practice social pages with negative comments and reviews that referred to Palmer’s killing of the lion. In fact, one of the comment summed up saying, “You kill a protected lion, we kill your shitty business :)”

The internet can make your business rank higher or can push you down the ladder. It sure did kill Palmer’s online reputation to some extent, since now everyone knows who had killed beloved Cecil even though the dentist claimed that he had been misled by his guide when out hunting.

#2 – They can put you into trouble with the law

In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission law had stated that using of a positive review without revealing that it had been compensated for, is not only deceptive but offensive enough to prosecute the user.

In 2013, Samsung was charged a hefty fine of $340,000 for astroturfing. Apparently, the company was reported to have hired a group of writers for the posting of positive reviews on their forums.

#3 – They can get you censored

We all know that Google prefers to present users with results that are authentic. Hence, this explains why authentic posts get rewarded with better ranking position on the search engine results page. Many online directories and review sites use algorithm that can filter out fake reviews easily. This could affect local businesses and many of them had infact suffered a massive review drop from 300 to 11.

Online customer review management therefore, is very important to ensure that business reputation does not get sabotaged on account of negative reviews. Of course, a negative customer can teach a business to understand why customers are not happy with their service and what they should do to solve the problem. Nevertheless, one bad or fake review can ruin your business progress and bring a lethal effect.


About the Author

Jessica Blunt works as a Local Business Reputation Manager at Vintelli, a next generation mobile and web directory application. In her 7 years of experience in Reputation Management, she has partnered many local and small-scale businesses to help them attain a high level of online visibility and recognition. Jessica is an expert at creating an impressive image of local businesses in the minds of their audiences.

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