4 Ways Online Reviews Are Being Manipulated By Manufacturers

We truly realize that the Internet is full of advertisements, but what some may  not  know would be the fact some advertisements show up w...



4 Ways Online Reviews Are Being Manipulated By Manufacturers

We truly realize that the Internet is full of advertisements, but what some may not know would be the fact some advertisements show up where you would least expect it. Where specifically? Online reviews.

Yep, manufacturers and firms actually manipulate reviews in a variety of ways below on the Internet. It’s information on good press, needless to say. However, some ways are sketchier than the others as you’ll soon be capable of tell.

Some methods companies use are rather direct although some are a somewhat more hands-off than the others. Either way, you need to know that it’s crucial to investigate reviews while you might be simultaneously investigating potential purchases.


Hiring SEO-Friendly PR


Public relations really are a big portion of any company, but in the modern age, you need to hire someone to know what they're doing. For instance, a lot of companies who are in to the whole online review manipulation game hire such services which are heavy on search engine marketing (SEO). As a number of you may know, search engine optimization is a key element in relation to online promotion, and it’s one part chance then one part science.

Google

According the financial service Mint, companies are making use of such services dating back 2010. In Internet time, that’s like a 30 years, so that’s a pretty good while. Public relation services often identify already-existing positive reviews and articles about their clients and employ various optimization ways of elevate these to the top of search engines like google. So while poor reviews exist, they typically fall towards the bottom in the pile.

You really can’t blame these lenders for wanting only their good sides to shine. Besides, everybody has bad press, and infrequently it’s overdone. Even still, if you wish to find legitimate reviews, it would be in your best interest to check beyond the first few pages of search.


Posting Fake Reviews


In case you didn’t know, companies post fake reviews. (Real shocker, eh?) No, we all know about those fake reviews available: “FANTASTIC SERVICE, WOULD COME AGAIN - GREAT PRODUCT!!!!!!!!” 

There’s little of a method to claim this, but when you look around enough, you’ll find some copy-and-paste fantastic reviews here and there. Because of this, Cornell University created Review Skeptic, a site that is openly for “entertainment purposes only”.

reviewskeptic

The site has been around since after a study discovered that some hotels tend to publish glowing reviews about themselves all over the Internet. At Review Skeptic, you'll be able to copy and paste reviews on the site to verify when they are fake or otherwise. Furthermore, if you know an overview is fake, the site requests that you just let them know - this assists save proper data for future usage.


Paying Off Consumers


Back in 2012, Time Magazine published an article about a company named VIP Deals which sold leather tablet cases approximately $60. However, when possible buyers ran looks for the cases because of their Amazon Kindles, an ad would pop-up selling such cases for just $10 plus shipping and handling. In most circumstances, this may be considered sketchy. Guess what? It was sketchy.

vipdeals

Gullible customers took advantage with the offer, strangely enough, the events did arrive, and as a matter of fact, they were legit - no cheap knockoffs. However, contained in the packaging was a letter requesting the customer to write a review on Amazon which said, “We make an effort to earn 100 percent perfect ‘FIVE-STAR’ scores by you!”

Cool, cool. No problem here. There would have been a problem, though - this: “In return for writing the review, we'll refund your order so you will have received the item for free.”

Yeah. Not cool. These things happen, folks.


Affiliate Reviews (We Don’t Do ‘Em, BTW)


Last however, not least, you will find the concept of affiliate linking. You may know about them, already. Consumers be given a custom link to a product from similar to Amazon’s affiliate product, and whenever this link is clicked, they receive money a small amount. This is okay in certain situations. For instance, if you were my pal, and you told me you're buying a product that I just bought, I could say, “Hey, can you mind using my affiliate link since I said about the thing?”

affil

Not too bad. What’s sketchy is the place popular bloggers write amazing reviews about products, link to them, and then promote them on their site as if they are legitimate reviews. That? That’s a little wrong.

(As a note, at MakeUseOf, we’ve done several sponsored reviews, but we let you know that these are sponsored. We also don’t include affiliate links.)


Conclusion


Hopefully, the aforementioned notes can help you think about the product in question about products you buy online. This isn’t necessarily an article that says, “BE PARANOID!” It’s more of a write-up that says, “Be thorough.” 

What other ways do manufacturers manipulate reviews? Do you have your personal tips to spot fake reviews? Have you ever based an investment on a manipulated review and regretted it?

Image Credits: Back of executive Via Shutterstock

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