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Talking Point – Fake Reviews – he loves me, he loves me not

As the giants of the web take over the world in leaps and bounds everyone seems to be obsessed, rightly or wrongly, with being loved. All forms of social media have succumbed to providing the tools for feedback, acknowledgement, and interaction on their sites. Whether its likes, smiley faces, hearts, thumbs up or thumbs down, retweets, shares, comments, followers, supporters, endorsers, and whether the platform is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In or any blog or news site, no-one escapes the “reactions” effect.

Taking it further, there are so many reviews on businesses websites we no longer need to rely on word of mouth to know where to eat, where to holiday, where to shop, where to stay, where to exercise, where to buy our utilities, or what vehicle to drive, airline to fly etc, etc. The list is very long and it seems everyone has an opinion or experience they’d like to share with the online world. Which is great if you don’t have your own physical networks or are new to an area or activity. Assuming of course that you are prepared to trust a review written by a complete stranger, often in a different country, culture or time zone, with perhaps a completely different set of values.

However the whole “review” phenomenon is not all beer and skittles, or the proverbial bed of roses, and sometimes things can go wrong, either by accident or by malice.

Expert recently found itself on the wrong end of a poor Google review. We were given a one star but with no comments, and from a person we’d never heard of, far less had any professional dealings with. And we weren’t alone. Seems every other website design and development company in the area were also given the same treatment, at the same time, and from the same person. All except one nearby website company, who received five stars, by the same person, at the same time. Funny that.

Now you have to wonder what is really going on here. Is a competitor so short of work, or so desperate, that they deliberately malign the competition in order to look good? They must be pretty thick to do something so stupid, or maybe they are just lacking in any sort of integrity. Hopefully the law of Karma will soon sort them out.

The web community in Wellington is generally pretty inclusive. We collaborate on large projects, share skills with each other, mentor each other, and we’ve even been known to socialise with each other on occasions, so to step over the line in this way is pretty terrible.  Just a note here – while we’re happy to be friends with our competitors, we still compete in the market place and our sector doesn’t sanction collusion. 

No-one wants their business reviewed in a negative way, which tends to keep us all on our toes when it comes to how we run our business and treat our clients.

When something like this happens it’s best to make a complaint to the platform it happens on.  In our case we contacted Google immediately and had the review removed. We recommend that you do the same should this ever happen to you.

And to anyone who thinks this behaviour is acceptable, it’s not. 😒👎

If you’d like to read more about this topic check out this blog: Fake Negative Reviews on Google. It was posted in February 2018 but is still very valid.  One of the techniques suggested in the blog to counter a bad review if you can’t get it taken down, is to offer the “customer” who posted the review a 100% refund.  As they never paid anything in the first place it will cost you nothing, but will show anyone reading the review that it’s a fake one. I like that.

While we’re on the subject of fake reviews and manipulating the system, buying ‘likes’ for your business is just as despicable, as three Kiwi social media bot opportunists are about to find out.

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