Unless you’ve been hidden under a very large rock and managed to avoid any newspapers and Wi-Fi signal for the past few months. You won’t have failed to escape this year’s buzzword FAKE!
And now the realisation that there are actually…
Of course Fake News and Reviews aren’t a new thing, but like most things the popular media brings to the forefront and puts in the public spotlight. It suddenly becomes a huge issue as everybody becomes aware of what has been happening.
So does this mean that people will suddenly start to disbelieve all reviews? It’ difficult to say for sure right now, but based on research by BrightLocal who have been carrying out the same research since 2010. The percentage of people who ignored reviews of local businesses has dropped from 29% in 2010 to 9% in 2016, with around 50% of people suggesting that they regularly check reviews in 2016, up from only 22% in 2010.
I realise the sample pool is very small with only around 1000 people polled. But it still does go to show just how important reviews, and more importantly, positive reviews have become to people’s decisions. Of course there is a difference between somebody reading reviews of a television or washing machine and a local electrician or plumber. But the fact that more and more people are becoming aware of review websites like Yelp.com in helping them to decide who to trust.
Although a report back in 2013 from Harvard Business School found that around 20% of the reviews on Yelp appeared to be fake! To online marketers and business owners caught up in this messy World, 20% may seem like a rather low figure as pointed out on YCombinator’s Hacker News Thread.
Of course, a little closer to home and for those who are fans of takeaways. I’m sure the takeaways within your area who are listed on Just East and Hungry House have a growing army of 5-star review food lovers! For example, there are a dozen or so Indian Takeaways within a few miles of where I live who have in excess of 500+ reviews, some even have 1000+ reviews! The funny thing is, without even digging too deep, it’s clear to see that these reviews are fake! You see the same names, along with the first few letters of the same post code appearing time and time again, all with 5 star ratings. So it doesn’t take much convincing to see what is happening here when the same group of names is ordering on a regular basis, sometimes even only a day or two between orders.
So now we’re at a stalemate! We cannot trust the Polls if we believe what Trump is saying! We cannot believe reviews on Yelp and we definitely cannot believe the reviews on Just Eat and Hungry House. Everybody’s favourite marketplace Amazon doesn’t fare much better…
In the inevitable words of Monty Python’s Eric Idle;
“Cheer up, Brian. You know what they say.
Some things in life are bad, [even though those reviews claim they’re great!]
They can really make you mad. [like when the stuff you ordered turns out to be rather quite bad]
Other things just make you swear and curse. [like when a business claims one thing and does the reverse!]
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle,
Don’t grumble, give a whistle!
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
And Always look on the bright side of life!…”