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Fake product reviews.



7:21 am on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was thinking when my site launches and if I choose to allow reviews they will all start off to the tune of crickets. This I am ok with because those things take time to fill up. However, the thought came across to write some fake reviews of a few products to get things going. I decided against this because, well, it is dishonest.

On smaller sites that lack amazon type volume, whenever I see a string of over hyped up product reviews I just laugh to myself and move on. But, I do capitulate to the notion that they could be all too real. (even though they all sound the same)

My point is to ask: Fake reviews, is it OK to?

I know that depends if you are selling say 10 widgets of all different makes and you want to give your customers your experienced perspective on the products. But still, that leads to the possibility of questionable practices.

Any thoughts on this?


8:42 am on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You could add fake reviews but Im not sure if having reviews already will make people want to add their review. Perhaps you could think about why reviews are not being added by your customers/users and try and make the process of adding reviews better.

I send an email to customers after they have made a purchase inviting them to add a review and explaining that their review will help others by offering a customer perspective on that product.

I'd look at the process of adding a review on your site is it obvious how to add a review? how does it compare to other sites? and is it an easy and quick process? The less effort required to add a review the better, IMO.


9:22 am on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Good points you brought up Mike. Considering my store's product line it would be possible to offer a percentage off on the next purchase for a confirmed review. Well, at least for a while. It's one of things I will just have to wait and see.


3:32 pm on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

no reviews is better than fake reviews. be aggressive about getting feedback/reviews. reviews are good for creating customer confidence but they are also extremely useful for self evaluation. we do our best to get feedback from every customer. we send out emails and follow up emails if they do not provide feedback. we genuinely want to know, it's the only way to provide a better service.
also, be sure to post negative feedback. there's always going to be some, usually if everything is done right there will be very little but still some. most consumers know that there should be negative feedback and if there is none it usually throws up a red flag. 10 positive comments carry more weight if there is a negative feedback.


3:51 pm on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Interesting timing, considering last month's announcement that the FTC is investigating fake reviews.

When it comes to the Internet, assume that eventually anything you are doing that is wrong or dishonest will be outed. So you have to decide if any benefits from fake reviews will outweigh the repercussions in the future.


7:52 pm on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Why don't you just use the product then write a real review. I do this all the time because I am writing a real review be it good or bad. Nothing wrong with writing a review of a product you sell as long as your honesat. If the product is a good product then you know it is worth keeping it it is a bad one well then ya know it won't be worth investing in and you can use this method to weed out the bad ones.

Oh and I ask the maker to send me one to write a review. Most of the time they are happy to do this and I get the product free of charge and write the review.

I get companies all the time asking me to add them to my site my first response is send me samples/product to test and I will then write a review of the product. Great way to test new items to see if they are worth adding. You would be suprised at the gems you can run across you have never heard of before that turn out to be great sellers.


8:52 pm on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'd start by soliciting reviews via email. Once you've collected enough reviews offline, you can go live with the online review system and bypass the awkward growing pains.


9:31 pm on Sep 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

You all have really good ideas. bwnbwn, I really like the fact that other companies solicit you and are sending you stuff to review. I know a few personal computer review sites that get, i assume, thousands of dollars in computer gear a month so they can review it. Of course that site is very well presented with indepth nontechnical and technical information about those products. (they don't sell the products but are affiliates of other that do.

Well, my particular situation is seemly different than from what I gather from the replies. I only have one product line from one manufacturer (me), so, yeah. But hey, it's no biggie, I am going let them fill slowly over time. For me it's really no big deal. However, I have 18 products I will be giving out locally to friends and such and I am sure I can convince them to write a quick 'I like this' or i hate this' on my site.


12:17 am on Sep 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Negative reviews can be uncomfortable, but in their own way they're just as important as the positive ones.

It's counterintuitive to think that having negative reviews could improve the bottom line, but shoppers who read about other people's problems as well as their praises are likely to (a) have more realistic expectations, and (b) make product choices better suited to their needs.

That can lead to fewer returns and reduced customer service costs, so that even if a negative review sometimes kills the sale, the sales you do get will have better profit margins.


3:05 am on Sep 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Good lord! I'm sorry - I'm very opinionated about this topic but are you nuts?! ;) Fake reviews are not a good idea for several reasons:

1) You're misrepresenting yourself and your products.
2) You leave yourself and your reputation exposed. In the online world, that's all you have. If it's compromised, you're finished.


9:34 am on Sep 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

FTC is investigating fake reviews.

Seriously what site they're investigating? Because I doubt it will ever be the OP's or the average John Doe site. Lets be pragmatic, even if someone tries to investigate where reviews are coming from and has every tool at his disposal he will never be able to reliably identify where they come from. Never.


12:06 pm on Sep 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Depending on what you sell, and the price, you might offer a freebie for a review. I am thinking of doing this for my Kindle books on Amazon. I am planning on putting a page at the end of the book saying 'Write a review and post it on Amazon and email it to me and I will send you a free copy of another one of my books'. An extra copy of an ebook costs nothing to make and, yes, I will send the freebie even if the review is negative.


2:08 pm on Sep 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Keep in mind that with a strict interpretaion of FTC rules the person that receive a free product for their review of another product would have to disclose in their reveiw that they were compensated for their review.


4:27 pm on Sep 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hmm that may cause a problem. I would not mind it at all, might get more sales. Sort of a buy one get one free :) . However, Amazon may have a rule about that.


4:21 am on Sep 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Get friends/family to buy products and get them write real reviews. Don't tell them to lie, just ask for honest feedback. Likewise, ask for feedback on products from customers. If you ask, they will come faster.


5:10 am on Sep 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

As for reviews (all above notwithstanding) it seems like the OP (as in Oldest Profession) reviews of biz done falls into the fake category:

"Oh, honey, you were great!" then "X dollars on your way out"

The only difference between "fake" and "lie" is "f" and "l" as the initial letter and should it come out will "t" as in "TANK" the website.

Offer a review segment. Just don't be surprised when no (or few at best) make the effort. HOWEVER in case law there is a thing called "puffery" which might or might NOT apply.

Myself, I tell no lies or create fictitious entries and that seems to work fine.


7:21 pm on Sep 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I would not fake them for sure. However what you should do is email past customers to come give a review of the product they bought in exchange for maybe free shipping coupon or something. Heck might even get you a few sales.

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