Watch out… government fights against fake reviews

fake reviews

The government will monitor the use of fake reviews by web shops and restaurants more strictly. At least, there is a bill ready for this, submitted by State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs and Climate. The intended law already bears the nickname review law. Incidentally, the proposal extends beyond the phenomenon of fake news. The act aims to offer online consumers more transparency.

What are we talking about? About reviews, customer reviews and recommendations, to be summarized under the term reviews. And these reviews play an undeniable role in Ecommerce. They can make and break reputations. According to small-scale research from 2019, satisfied customers like to write reviews and are eagerly consumed by potential customers.

Resist the temptation to fake reviews

Seven in ten online shoppers indicate that they are guided by reviews. That is a lot. And even more consumers (eight in ten) indicate that they prefer products with a large number of reviews. If so, that is where the shoe might pinch. Because how do you resist the temptation to buy and place fake reviews?

Do not. Because fake reviews are always harmful. Is it not direct, or in the longer term. They nibble at consumer confidence, when exposed, the reputation damage to your webshop or brand is incalculable, and they damage the reputation of Ecommerce in general. Yet it still happens on a large scale. Behind it is an entire industry of well-organized fake reviewers who produce positive reviews about the paying party and negative about the competitor.

The more reviews, the better your ranking

Just as consumers love reviews to determine where to eat, which product is reliable, or at which webshop they can leave their money safely, Google is also a fan. The search engine algorithms assume in their innocence that products, services and websites with a lot of reviews must be relevant. For that reason, a high number of reviews ensures a better ranking. Another factor that increases the temptation to use fake reviews. And it justifies the question of whether the algorithms also recognize fake reviews. That is partly the case. For which part we do not know.

Fake reviews are often recognizable. If they are negative and harmful to your webshop or brand, you just have to hope that your customers will also see through them. Because doing something about it is not that easy. And 'negative' is allowed, after all we cherish our freedom of expression. But burning down a company based on fabrications is not allowed. If a fake review degenerates into defamation or defamation, something is indeed going to be done, although the road to a court decision is long and complicated.

Fake reviews? Rather not

That is why State Secretary Mona Keijzer is taking action. Her 'review law' recently entered the consultation phase, as it is so beautifully called. Then everyone can think of it before the law, preferably in a European context as far as Keijzer is concerned, takes its final form. The consumer association has already made itself heard and is on the side of Mona Keijzer. 'The draft law gives regulators more possibilities to impose sanctions against unfair trading practices and deception', said a spokesman.

Wijnand Jongen, director of Thuiswinkel.org, is a bit more nuanced. In the Netherlands, many web shops and platforms are already taking their responsibility, he says. He adds there on it's own platform of the trade association Admits that the new legislation can certainly contribute to transparency, but that the question of who is responsible for a fake review has not yet been answered in such a one-two-three way. He would like to discuss this with the State Secretary.

In summary, as tempting as it may be to use fake reviews, it is not done. Consumer confidence decreases and if you fail, the reputation damage is incalculable. In addition, it is bad for the reliability of the Ecommerce sector. However, authentic customer reviews cannot be ignored from Ecommerce. Because customers listen to each other. In short, do not give in to the temptation of a fake review, but cherish your customers who take the trouble to write a review, positive or negative. And use real reviews in your marketing. How can you automate that process? We are happy to advise you on effective Ecommerce Marketing Systems.

 

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