Buying Reviews: Why it’s such a big deal

We’ve all seen the reviews, you know the ones, always 5 stars shouting about how the product was ‘life changing’ and boasts about how brilliant it is whilst not actually saying much about what is does. Like this one.
Source: Amazon Product page

Just by reading it we can tell that this is a fake review.

It can also go the other way, where competitors reach out and pay for negative reviews to by posted such as this one.


In relation to e-commerce the general concept behind a review is quite simply, it’s “an opportunity to rate and comment on products they have purchased” which other consumers can than read and take into consideration when making their own purchases.

It’s natural for marketers to want to make their product or service look the best, this has brought about the ethically questionable practice of buying reviews and with a PR firm Weber Shandwick finding that 83% of consumers say that online reviews do impact their perception of a company or a product, you can see why. There are a number of sites online where companies do actually advertise for review writers I know Craig’s List is a big one but there are also a number of lesser know sites such as short task, click worker.

You may be thinking that a couple of reviews don’t make much difference, I mean most of us could probably pick out a fake review anyway but “… a University of California study found that a Yelp rating increase of just half a star (on a scale of one to five) increased the likelihood of a restaurant selling out its 7:00 p.m. booking from 30 percent to 49 percent“ (National Ethics Association, 2012), not all people actually look at reviews some do just look at star ratings.

Ethics is not only for the big issues but for everyday life, we use ethical consideration when we thinking about how we will act, what decisions we will make. I wonder if marketers and those involved in this practice do truly consider the impact that fake reviews could make, not only on the choices of consumers but also on the company itself should consumers become aware.

If the general public find out about company’s buying reviews either to promote their own product or to take down a competitors product, it does have the potential to bring down your business. Consumers may boycott you and spread negative feedback around which can destroy the businesses reputation so is it really worth it?

Have a think and let me know from the perspective of a marketer (ignoring ethics) do you see any value in fake reviews and then taking ethics into account do you think it would be worth the risk?
Personally have you ever encountered a fake review and accidentally based your decision on it?

Thanks for reading 🙂

If you want to know what to look out for in identifying fake reviews feel free to check out the link below
If you’re thinking about buying reviews here’s some more information to consider