The first thing most people do before clicking the “add to cart” button for their impulse shopping is to check the reviews to see whether the goods are good. There are multiple sites or businesses exist for this simple reason, or so I call it, the review industry. Businesses like Yelp, Foursquare, and RottenTomatoes are some of the examples. In this post, I would like to focus on the reviews on physical goods sold on e-commerce sites, the kind consumers purchase on Amazon, Ebay or Taobao.
We hate to be wrong, so we look around us for social cue or guidance for what is right and what is good. And online review is the best guide available, from strangers, and remember how your mom told you to never trust a stranger but yet we never listen, at least 95% of them did not. So there is a huge incentive in manipulating the reviews to boost the sales of products. Evidently, there exist companies that recruit people just to write fake reviews to increase the desirability of certain products.
But you might be thinking, these companies can not stop genuine customers from leaving bad reviews, so we can still know if a product is good or bad by looking at the lowest or worst reviews given. False! Some shady companies are known to pay their customers to leave positive reviews, if they do not, they might be susceptible to harassment or threats. So there is more incentives even for real customers to not leave bad reviews, even if the product is not satisfactory.
In addition, sometimes review are not a real representation for a product, either for good or bad. There are this term called review-bombing, where customers leave negative reviews to express their dissatisfaction toward a company.
For instance, the game Metro Exodus is an outstanding and brilliant game, but look at its review page, it is filled with negative reviews because the company made some decisions that’s not agreeable with its customers.
My point is, we can not really rely on reviews to judge what is good to buy or not anymore, at least not with the current review system.
Perhaps, a more integrated review system with only closed friends or validated influencers will be more useful and valuable for common customers like us. What do you think we can improve on to counter these fake reviews? Leave a comment below.