Why Consumer Reviews Can’t be Trusted

Word of mouth has always been the most effective marketing tool. We are more likely to purchase a product or service if it has come highly recommended by someone we know and trust. The online world has taken hold of that word of mouth strategy and businesses are leveraging online reviews from consumers to increase their bottom line. It’s reassuring when we read multiple positive reviews about a company we’re about to invest in, but how many of these reviews are legitimate? Which online reviews can we really trust?

Online Reviews

Reality of Fake Online Reviews

A search engine company called BrightLocal conducted a Local Consumer Review Study and concluded that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The study showed that 9 out of 10 consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of local business and 39% of those do so regularly. This proves the importance of online reviews in purchasing decisions.

Businesses see online reviews as a gold mine. It’s obvious that increased online ratings equal increased sales for any business. Businesses know this…even the bad businesses. The truth is that businesses generate fake reviews. In fact, we have seen job postings for freelance writers to write positive reviews for a business and even negative reviews for their competitors. Freelancer posting sites like Fiverr.com is full of advertisements offering to write online reviews. Ad postings on Craigslist show businesses offering to pay $10 a review for willing applicants.

Study finds 50% of consumer reviews are fake on home reno review site

TrustedPros, a home renovation directory and review site, has discovered and published the fact that in some Canadian cities nearly 50% of renovation companies on their site were posting fake reviews. The culprits at the top of the list were moving companies with 63% posting fake reviews. Close behind are floor refinishers, duct cleaning companies, locksmiths and commercial contractors.  Read more about their findings.

TrustedPros stated that they reject 30% of all reviews that come in because they didn’t pass their validation method and were deemed as deceptive or fake. They have a checklist of suspicions that is gone through with each review and technologies exists that run reviews through an algorithm that checks IP addresses and certain key words believed to be used in fake reviews.

If the manual procedures and technology exists to FIND fake reviews, don’t you think those fraudsters are using the same technology to get their review passed the system?

Some businesses are not so bold as to hire someone to post fake reviews. Some use little manipulation tools to encourage consumers to rave about them online. A common practice would be to offer incentives like gift cards or free products if customers will write positive reviews for them. Most people would write a positive review in exchange for a free tablet or dinner for two at a fancy restaurant.

It works in reverse as well. A company that gets a terrible review will suffer major consequences. Some businesses plant fake bad reviews against their competitors. Whether they’re paying someone to do it or doing it themselves, it happens and it happens often. Read this story where a business found out that the same negative reviews were copied and pasted on Google Reviews for his competitors as well! So can you trust that the negative reviews are truthful either?

There is a clever website called reviewskeptic.com.  Developed by Cornell University, this site allows you to put in the review and it will be able to tell you whether it is fake or real.

Finding Companies you can Trust on RenovationFind.com

RenovationFind.com is NOT a review site. We do accept consumer reviews on the companies listed in our directory but we do not share them. Consumer complaints are monitored. We investigate and validate the legitimacy of the complaint. If companies on our site do not maintain a high-level of customer satisfaction and do not uphold our other stringent accreditation standards then they are removed.

The companies on our directory have all been through a background check. We use a third party organization to complete legal and financial background checks and we continue to monitor their legal situation and credit to ensure they are still meeting our standards.

We also check their business license, insurance, provincial worker’s compensation coverage and whether they are a member of the Better Business Bureau. All of these efforts ensure that the businesses listed on RenovationFind.com are trustworthy, good companies that offer high-quality products, services and exceptional customer service.

When you find a renovation company on RenovationFind.com you can consider it a personal, unbiased and truthful personal recommendation from us to you.

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