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How Wrong Reviews Manipulate You Online



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Fake reviews are everywhere online and probably influenced some of your purchases. Fake reviews can be positive or negative and are obviously unethical and harmful. However, they are the symptom of a bigger problem with e-commerce and online platforms.

Reviews Are Worth Gold

In the world of ecommerce, reviews are the best sign of success or failure. Sure, many good reviews show that a product sells well and people enjoy it, but it's more than that. Reviews are the ultimate form of advertising.

Companies that have good reviews are often free exposed. Sites such as Amazon and Yelp show top-rated products and pages at the top of search results. They are recommended to users on the basis of interests, and they are even sent in e-mail campaigns or labeled with "Amazon's Choice" labels.

Even though the exposure does not guarantee sales, good reviews are the case. According to a BrightLocal study, 84% of people trust online reviews as well as friends. This is incredible statistics as it suggests that a poorly written 50-word review by a stranger has as much impact as a positive recommendation from someone you trust. In essence, the reputation and clout that companies receive through good reviews create a strong e-commerce formula.

In a way, this formula feels a bit too simple. But it actually creates a highly competitive market that is easy to use. Well-reviewed companies can easily overshadow competitors and products or pages with bad reviews are hidden from customers by website algorithms.

This is useful. Of course, Amazon and Yelp do not want you to associate their websites with crappy products. But bad reviews can completely break a serious business, especially a small or new business that's struggling to gain a foothold in the marketplace.

You probably recognized where this is going. Companies need good reviews to stay afloat, and pay for people to write fake reviews.

Who writes these fake reviews?

Robots or AI do not make the majority of fake reviews; Real people do. It turns out that websites like Amazon are pretty good at intercepting bot activity, and it helps that most reviews written by Bot stand out like a thumb (there are even websites like Fakepot that can intercept ratings written by AI ).

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But as with other forms of online policing, takedowns for counterfeits are done manually. Usually, a website only targets reviews that appear "phony". In general, Yelp tends to eliminate badly written reviews from inactive accounts or accounts that are clearly managed by a bot. The website also uses IP addresses to find suspicious reviews. If a restaurant in Idaho has received 15 Yelp reviews from an Australian IP address, you can assume that there is a scam.

So, if you're a company that wants to pay fake reviews, your best bet is to find American residents who are active on sites like Amazon and Yelp. Ideally, your fake reviewers are easy to find and ready to do about 10 minutes of work on peanuts. It turns out that freelance writers are suitable for the bill, and there are websites that exist only for businesses to find and hire freelance writers, often asked for low-paid jobs, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, and Freelancer.com become.

Keep in mind that many companies actually hijack fake reviewers about a marketing company, so there may be an intermediary involved.

Freelance Websites Facilitate Fake Reviews

These freelance websites are not an illegal wasteland. They have rules, they have moderators and they are completely overboard. Strangely enough, fake verification jobs do not always violate the terms of use on some of these websites.

Upwork, the largest freelance freelance job site, does not explicitly mention fake reviews in its terms of service. Instead, the Website Terms of Use prohibit "illegal activity" and jobs that violate the "Terms of Service for another service, product, or site."

As you've probably guessed, fake reviews hurt Amazon, Yelp, Google. and the terms of service for other websites. In addition, a large-scale fake verification job could easily be considered fraudulent. Although fake reviews do not violate the terms and conditions of Upwork (and other freelance boards), they are not technically allowed under these two rules.

Well, there is a bit of a loophole. If the job listers keep their business vague, they can hire for just about anything. Do you need an example? I searched Upforce for "Yelp" and found a job that made a vague request for "seasoned Yelp users." This employer is looking for 65 writers and wants to pay them $ 2 each. It's a painfully obvious fake review job, and it's been posted for over a week.

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Businesses take advantage of another loophole to hire fake article writers, but it is rarer. Most freelance job boards prohibit jobs that violate the terms of service of another website, such as Amazon or Google. Under the Amazon terms and conditions, companies are free to submit free products for review. Other websites, such as B. Yelp, work similarly. You can also rate a restaurant if you have eaten there for free. If an employer offers free products that rate authors, they can indirectly sponsor fake reviews.

That sounds good, but most companies do not want to spend their money on bad or lukewarm reviews. Companies that play this game tell their potential reviewers that there is a good compensation for good, detailed reviews.

The Fake Review System Is Also On Social Media

When most people think of fake reviews, they think about sites like Amazon, Yelp, or Tripadvisor. However, to understand how big and complicated this phenomenon (and all of e-commerce) is, one has to look at how companies use the system of "fake reviews" in social media.

We focus on Reddit. If you are unfamiliar with Reddit, it is essentially a forum-based site that contains all conceivable niche communities. There are subreddits for boat enthusiasts, MMORPG fans, fashion friends and PC nerds.

These communities, along with most of the other subreddits on Reddit, are tempting goals for a business. If a company that manufactures gaming keyboards manages to take its product to the forefront of the Reddit PC gaming forum, then it effectively advertises its brand to 1.2 million self-described PC players. In addition, a well camouflaged Reddit contribution of said keyboard company could look like a testimonial of a hardcore player. And as we already know, 84% of people trust online reviews and reviews as much as they trust their friends.

How do you get to the top of a Reddit forum? Well, the content of Reddit, which brings many improvements, is being noticed more, similar to how well-rated products are becoming more popular on Amazon. Conversely, reddit posts with downvotes are hidden from users' algorithms by the website. Of course you can buy upvotes from a site like BoostUpvotes. And although you'll probably assume that an army of bot accounts are performing these upvotes and comments, they're done manually, as are fake reviews on Amazon and Yelp.

If you do not believe that companies use Reddit for marketing purposes, then Google, "How to Market on Reddit" or "How to Sell My Product on Reddit." You will come across some interesting manuals, such as Dreamgrows' How to Reddit in your product marketing strategy "Extensive sections such as" Avoiding being banned "and" Creating a profile that feels real ", you know that you're immersed in unethical business practices.

The e-commerce computer with fake reviews has found its way into social media pages, and that's kind of bizarre. It's a sign that misleading and unethical business practices have permeated the Internet and that companies are desperately trying to gain market share in the online world.

Fake Ratings Take Advantage of the Snowball Effect

We know that websites are more exposed to products and content with good reviews, and they tend to hide poorly rated content. However, websites like Amazon and Reddit do not always allow you to see only the top-rated content. New products and contributions must be able to find their way up.

The success of an Amazon product or a Reddit post depends almost entirely on the first reviews. Website algorithms attach great importance to a brand new post or brand-new product when it has some good reviews, which increases the chances of success of the product or the posts. Conversely, a brand new post or product with bad reviews will be forgotten and is doomed to fail. This is called a snowball effect.

The snowball effect is an easy way to bring fresh, new content into popularity. It's also an easy way to sort out bad content and bad products. But here's the thing – it's difficult for a brand new product to get ratings even if a well-known company manufactures it. This snowball effect primarily rewards people who pay for fake reviews – or, in the case of Reddit, false upvotes.

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romance writing. They put it on Amazon's Kindle Store, but it's not going very well. There are a few downloads and there is a rating of three stars. Of course, your novel disappears into the swamp of unpopular, self-published books, and you have not earned a single dollar in your work.

But if you decide to republish the book with 20 fake reviews? Well, Amazon could suggest it to customers. It could appear in the "similar" box under other books or in marketing emails. Your book may be at the top of some search results, and if you make enough sales, your hitherto unsuccessful romance novel could end up on a bestseller list.

This sounds like a wild "what-if" scenario, but it happens a lot. The snowball effect is so crucial to the success of a product that books filled with literal nonsense can head to Amazon's bestseller list with some fake reviews. As you can imagine, even legitimate and talented authors have to play with the Amazon algorithms to gain prominence, especially when authors with similar books resort to fake reviews in order to be successful.

You can also buy bad reviews if you feel bad. 19659005] Have you ever felt the strange sense of relief (or disappointment) after reading a negative product review? It's like you were going to buy this thing, but you know you dodged a ball. Maybe you have not gone out of the way of a bullet. Maybe you were manipulated by a fake review.

Bad reviews, aversions, and downvotes are meant to tell you when a product is not worth your time. As with good ratings, bad reviews also impact web site exposure algorithms. If a product on Amazon or a post on Reddit has poor ratings, it will be silenced and not suggested to users by the search results. It's like the snowball effect in reverse. As strange as that sounds, you can buy bad reviews, downvotes and antipathies to competitors. So common is this practice that there are online tutorials on how to deal with "fake class" negative counterfeit reviews.

This unethical bad rating technique can be devastating for a company, especially on Amazon. The site has a serious problem with counterfeiting. Therefore, there are some automated systems to protect buyers from fraud. If a product receives many bad reviews in a short amount of time, the person selling the product will be banned by Amazon. Automatically.

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In a fascinating Video from the Wall Street Journal, Chinese entrepreneurs describe how fake reviews have sabotaged them. On busy business days like Black Friday, aggressive companies try to suspend their Amazon competitors. They are buying up a bunch of bad fake reviews and temporarily dominate the market.

These techniques are extremely immoral and reinforce the status quo of fake verification. If a company becomes the victim of sabotage-by-fake reviews, they need to get back on their feet quickly. Otherwise, they could give up the business. How can a company recover quickly? Well, it can pay writers to leave good product reviews!

Counterfeit reviews are a symptom of a bigger problem

It's easy to get involved in blaming. Fake reviews are a significant, unethical business with many moving parts. But before you point to entrepreneurs, writers, marketing companies, freelance bodies, or Jeff Bezos, you should consider the idea that counterfeit reviews are a symptom of a bigger problem.

E-commerce is all about exposure. You could call it Exposure Commerce. A business must fail if it can not have an online presence. Since most of the online presence is directly related to algorithms like the snowball effect, entrepreneurs have to run to the ground and make no mistakes. And at this point, the ethical decision to avoid fake reviews could even be a fatal mistake for any business.

With the infrastructure we have today, fake ratings are the status quo. Should we accept fraud as a norm? No of course not. However, if online platforms do not rethink the review-based business model, we will continue to see fake reviews.


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