Online reviews make your customers come around. These reviews serve as feedback for prospective clients. So the question is – should you buy reviews in order to attract more people to your products or services?
But consider this. Buying online reviews at Google, Yelp or any other review platform is not as straightforward as you may have been led to believe.
Paid reviews are not hard to come by. You can easily locate them at a low cost to boost the review count on any website you wish. However, before making a purchase it’s essential to recognize the potential risks involved and consider alternate strategies. In this article we’ll take an in-depth look at both of those things!
Let us take a look at why people buy five-star reviews.
Purchasing reviews is fairly straightforward and can be very tempting, as even a handful of positive reviews can significantly boost your business. But this practice presents some worrisome risks – possibly big ones (we’ll cover that momentarily). Additionally, acquiring authentic glowing appraisals without having to purchase them actually isn’t tough; we’ll discuss how in just a bit.
Why Buy Reviews?
The appeal of purchasing reviews is indisputable. Reviews are a convincing way to gain new clientele. The majority of individuals base their buying decisions on what they read in online reviews, and take them seriously:
- A recent survey found that 85% of people put faith in online reviews to the same extent as they do for recommendations from friends.
- Nearly half of the surveyed respondents stated that they require a minimum rating of four stars before using any business.
- To gain consumer trust, the average customer desires to see a business’s rating bolstered by at least 34 reviews.
- Over three-quarters of respondents asserted that feedback more than three months old is no longer pertinent.
- With 68% of customers stating that online reviews are influential in their decision-making process, it’s essential to ensure your product or service is properly represented on review websites.
Therefore, it is evident that businesses must acquire a consistent flow of favorable reviews to attract and retain customers.
And why not? Those reviews translate to sales.
According to a study of restaurants, when Yelp ratings increase by merely one star, revenue can rise from 5-9%.
If you want your business to gain positive reviews but lack the customer base necessary, then it would be effortless for you to outsource this task by paying someone to write fake reviews.
The question is – do you buy fake reviews?
The answer is – absolutely not.
Here’s why buying reviews doesn’t work
With the potential to backfire in a multitude of ways, buying reviews simply isn’t worth the risk. From getting your business blacklisted from review sites and losing customers’ trust to being penalized by search engines – it’s just not wise!
Here are a few reasons why:
- As review sites refine their software, it has become easier for them to detect any false reviews. Yelp is particularly known for its cutting-edge recommendation technologies which are frequently updated and have made it proficient at eliminating dubious posts. Google also appears to be heading down the same route, furthering its ability to identify spurious comments quickly and accurately.
- Savvy consumers can easily discern when reviews are authentic or fabricated. It only takes one person to take note of a fake review and post on social media about your dubiousness, resulting in dire consequences for your reputation. If this Facebook post is widely shared it could cause irreparable harm to the integrity of your brand name.
- If your paid reviewers disclose any incentives or gifts they received for writing those reviews, it could be detrimental to your brand’s reputation. Imagine a customer scrolling through reviews and reading something like “I love their product! They gave me a hairdryer in exchange for this review.” Not only will it raise eyebrows, but it could mean curtains for the way others view your company.
- Don’t deprive yourself of invaluable feedback! Reviews do far more than build your credibility or entice customers to purchase from you – their primary purpose is to provide an unfiltered, impartial opinion about how people feel about the products and services you offer. Although some reviews may be critical, it’s a great chance for businesses to identify any areas needing improvement and take action accordingly.
- If your business accumulates more than one hundred positive reviews online, but the service that customers receive is far from satisfactory, not only will they be unlikely to return as a customer in the future but also realize those encouraging reviews may have been artificial.
- As review sites take this topic extremely seriously, companies that are caught with phony reviews on their web pages may be penalized. Yelp is most responsive concerning this and has a Consumer Alerts system in place to alert customers about businesses found with fake reviews. A large pop-up message will appear on the company’s page for 90 days, warning every customer who visits of the deception by said business.
- Soliciting fake reviews is not only unethical, it can carry hefty fines and other legal repercussions. Companies have already been punished for engaging in this activity, making it a potentially dangerous path to take.
Be wary of the choices you make in this day and age—you don’t want to be seen as a business that pays for fraudulent or glowing reviews. Negative press like this could easily undo all the progress made by previous genuine positive reviews.
The message is clear.
In the long run, paying people to write fake reviews – or giving discounts or other incentives to true customers in exchange for writing positive reviews – is a total waste of money and will only lead you down an arduous path.
How to Get Reviews the Right way
To sum up: reviews are essential while buying them is not. So what should businesses do? It’s actually quite straightforward – prioritize customer service and satisfaction to encourage customers to provide positive reviews organically. Put all your energy into ensuring that existing clients leave happy with their experience!
You will need to invest in a system that makes it easier for customers to review your establishment.
This system takes the hassle out of customer feedback by sending an automated one-question survey to your customers. It allows you to identify satisfied customers and direct them toward a review site of your choice, while also providing you with the opportunity to reconnect with unsatisfied customers in order to address their issues.
And guess what?
Satisfied customers often don’t hesitate to leave you a review, as long as the process is effortless.
How to Get Reviews Organically
1. A simple process
In this day and age, most people don’t have time to participate in activities that aren’t beneficial for them; reviews are no exception. To make the review process smoother, keep it straightforward: provide a link to your preferred review site or utilize clickable rating stars in emails. Furthermore, if you have an app available, consider adding a pop-up reminder asking customers to leave feedback – these can go a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction levels!
2. Reply to reviews
If customers witness that your past comments or inquiries go without a response, they will be unwilling to leave a review. By responding to reviews, you are doing two things:
(1) Urge your customers to provide feedback and graciously thank them for taking time out of their day to do so.
(2) Showing your customers that you care, especially those who are displeased, sends a powerful and resonant message.
Instead of disregarding negative feedback, reach out to the customer and offer assistance. The next time you receive a complaint or criticism, do your best to make it right.
3. Host Giveaways
Although it isn’t possible to purchase reviews, you can still spend some cash on gaining organic feedback. Contests and giveaways are an incredible way to get legitimate opinions with minimal expenditure.
Offer any item or service of your preference and persuade the participants to leave a review in exchange for a complimentary product, assistance, or discount.
Tip: It’s important to emphasize that everyone who leaves a review is eligible for the giveaway, regardless of their opinion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is buying online reviews ethical?
Buying online reviews is generally considered unethical and can be a violation of the terms of service of the platform on which the reviews are being purchased. It can also be considered deceptive to potential customers, as they may not be able to trust the authenticity of the reviews.
Can buying online reviews get my business in trouble?
A: Yes, buying online reviews can get a business in trouble. Many platforms have strict policies against buying reviews, and businesses that are caught can face penalties such as account suspension or fines. Additionally, it can damage the reputation of the business among customers, and lead to legal action.
Are there any legal implications of buying online reviews?
Yes, there are legal implications of buying online reviews. It can be considered fraud and can lead to legal action. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines in place that prohibit businesses from providing false or misleading endorsements.
How can I tell if a review is fake?
It can be difficult to tell if a review is fake, but some signs that a review may be fake include:
- The review is overly positive or negative
- The review uses similar language or phrasing to other reviews
- The review was written by someone with no other reviews on the platform
- The review was written at an unusual time of day or on a day when the business was closed.
How can I get more authentic reviews for my business?
The best way to get authentic reviews for your business is to provide excellent customer service and ask your customers to leave a review. You can also offer incentives for leaving a review, such as discounts or free products.
Are there any alternatives to buying reviews?
Yes, there are alternatives to buying reviews. One alternative is to focus on building relationships with your customers and providing excellent customer service. Another alternative is to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing to increase your visibility and drive more organic traffic to your website.
When it comes to wasting money and time, buying reviews is one of the worst possible investments you can make. If your customers or site administrators happen to find out about these counterfeit ratings, this will almost certainly lead to irreparable damage.