Ratings and reviews play a critical role in our daily lives. Whether we are browsing Netflix, Amazon or Spotify, the entertainment that we select is typically determined by the ubiquitous online rating. But, these are just a few tiny elements from our daily lives.
However, if we zoom out and examine how we choose a hotel, tradesman or purchase a cyber Monday bargain, the process will often begin by checking online reviews. It doesn’t matter if you are a business or a consumer, we are all united with our reliance on ratings to help us weigh the pros and cons of any product or service to make a well-informed decision.
If an incredible 84% of consumers really do trust online reviews as much as they trust the words of their friends, reviews are becoming big business. To further muddy the waters, those searching for authentic reviews from “verified purchases” could be reading the experiences of consumers who have been incentivized through further discounts to write the review.
The problem is that companies such as skincare brand Sunday Riley have been caught planting their own 5-star reviews. The company stands accused of using their own employees to use fake names and write reviews to boost their average ratings. Equally, some businesses have been known to use bad reviews to hit their competitors where it will hurt them most, their online reputation.
Tech-savvy shoppers are even turning to reviews on their smartphones while they’re in physical brick-and-mortar stores. It’s clear that reputations can be won and lost by the average review score. Some unsavory businesses will go to extreme lengths to tarnish anyone that dares leave them a negative review.
These are the exact reasons why the team here at Completed shut down any form of cyberbullying. Any review that we deem as harassing, threatening, or embarrassing to a user, will not be posted on the Completed platform.
Can you spot a fake online review?
Most fake reviews can be difficult to spot. Thankfully, the emergence of online tools such as Fakespot will sniff out the fake reviews for you. The platform analyzes thousands of product reviews, hunting for the giveaway signs of a rating generated by someone who isn’t a customer.
Advances in technology make it possible to closely examine purchasing patterns, grammar, and dates of every review before assigning each it with a grade. There is even a Chrome extension that alerts you to bogus reviews and helps you determine what is and what isn’t credible.
As a consumer or a business, you have two choices when it comes to online reviews. You can either take them with a pinch of salt and accept that not everything you read will be genuine. Alternatively, you could choose to research and leverage online tools and uncover the truth. But do you have time for that?
How to improve the online review landscape
As we head towards Web 3.0, trust and radical transparency are already becoming the new currency. The ramblings of a keyboard warrior hiding behind an online persona will continue to lose any credibility they might once have had.
Completed has in many ways created an antidote to the old way of doing things in Web 2.0. Rather than hide behind the anonymity of a fake account, it’s time to be proud of your name and leverage your digital footprint from accounts such as LinkedIn in the name of continuous improvement.
Completed also makes the reviewer accountable for their actions and only permits constructive criticism that encourages constructive feedback for people to improve in business. Peer reviews and feedback creates trusted profiles. This enables users to identify their strengths and address areas for improvement.
Why is it important?
Many people are guilty of living inside their echo chambers where social media timelines stunt personal growth by enforcing existing opinions rather than challenging them. In a digital age where lifelong learning is crucial to staying relevant in the employment landscape, something needs to change.
Since the birth of the internet, many have hidden behind a cloak of anonymity. As our online habits have evolved, we are beginning to ignore trolls and carefully manage our own personal brands. Make no mistake; attitudes are already changing.
There is an increasing number of stories in our timelines suggesting that the rating and review landscape is currently broken. But, they seldom talk about how we can fix the problem of fake reviews, and blackmail. The emergence of new platforms such as Completed is highlighting the importance of trusted profiles and only publishing constructive criticism certainly feels like a step in the right direction.
Taking back control of your online brand by showcasing a business profile that promotes your unique and authentic self rather than an airbrushed version sounds liberating. In a world of fake news, reviews, ratings, profiles and photo filters, I’m ready to try something different.
What if being yourself could connect you to the right opportunities through talent, experience, and cultural matching? It’s a crazy concept, but it might just catch on.
Tech Columnist, Writer, Blogger and Podcaster featured in @HuffingtonPost @TheNextWeb @Inc @ZDnet & LinkedIn Top Voice on Technology https://lists.linkedin.com/2015/top-voices/technology?trk=ranking-overview-b-ind#.