Fake online review crackdowns

Fake online review crackdowns

26-Feb-2014
A high-end restaurant is among at least 10 businesses suspected of posting fake reviews online, following a crackdown by state fair trading authorities across the country.


Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, said cracking down on fake reviews was a “top priority”, reports news.com.au, and following this state fair trading authorities asked 39 businesses to substantiate reviews on their websites.


Of the 39, between 10 and 20 businesses couldn’t prove the reviews were genuine, with some agreeing to remove the testimonials. At least two of these businesses – one on NSW and one in Victoria – are under investigation.


A high-end restaurant, a funeral company and a building company are among the more than 10 businesses suspected of posting the fake reviews, although investigators refused to name any of the businesses asked to prove the reviews’ authenticity.


Real estate, recruitment, restaurant, funeral services and alternative health industries are among the most likely to post fake reviews, with international research finding that when a restaurant’s rating jumps by just half a star (out of five) the likelihood that it will be booked out at 7pm on any night of the week jumps from 30 to 49 percent.


In December the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released a best practice guide for businesses and review platforms in an attempt to tackle fake reviews being posted online. The document, Online reviews: a guide for business and review platforms touches on everything from guiding principles for posting reviews to the definition of a review platform and recommendations for detecting and removing fake reviews. 


The publication contains separate sections relating specificially to review platforms and reviewed businesses, and it outlines three core principles of conduct for businesses to abide by:

• Be transparent about commercial relationships

• Don’t post or publish misleading reviews

• Remember that omitting negative reviews can be as misleading as posting fake reviews

For the original article from GoHospitality click here.