Here's Why You Should Never Buy Reviews

Online Business Reviews | 4.5 Min Read
by Olivia Williams
@OliviaW
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Forbes reports that 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before making a purchase. The idea of buying reviews might look attractive because it is easy, fast, and does not take much time.

In fact, multiple online ads promise reviews from active profiles in relevant locations. Prices start from $30 for 10 reviews, making the deal seemingly cost-effective.
But are they reliable and legitimate? Let's analyze the pros and cons of buying reviews.

Are Fake Reviews an Effective SEO Solution for Local Businesses?

Having numerous reviews on business review platforms such as Google, Yelp or Facebook improves the online presence of companies.

Therefore, sometimes business owners believe fake reviews to be an effective SEO solution. Local businesses with a deficit marketing budget may see buying reviews as a good way to save time and money.

But only genuine reviews give businesses the opportunity to respond to consumers and interact in a way that could improve a business' ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

Fake Reviews Can Get Business on a Blacklist

Tracking the origin of comments, controlling their relevance and the reliability of posting IPs is a difficult task. But business review sites try to keep well-informed and upgrade their filters, algorithms and technologies to better prevent the posting of fake reviews.

The final result is always a question of luck. Google may miss a fake review, but most of the time it spots the bogus reviews and removes them, dropping the company's ranking. The search engine may even blacklist the company for a certain time.

Bogus Reviews Destroy Businesses

The worst-case scenario, when a business review platform identifies the fake reviews, may seriously penalize your business.

Why Buying Reviews Harms Businesses

  • Buying reviews is a risky strategy.
  • The truth will damage your reputation.
  • Your business may lose trust and loyalty.
  • Buying reviews breaks the Federal Trade Commission rules.

Buying Reviews is a Risky Strategy

On one hand, false reviews may attract new consumers who may leave genuine reviews. On the other hand, if the fake reviews are tracked and identified, you may even lose your existing loyal consumers. The business will have to start from the bottom to earn its reputation again.

The Truth Will Damage Your Reputation

Even if you have used a service to buy reviews because of a time or staff deficit, people may believe that the low quality of a product and poor customer service were the original reasons for such a measure.

Your Business May Lose Trust and Loyalty

Your reputation is what people say about your business, not what you say about it. The positive things about your products you would like to see show up in Google need to be legitimate and genuine.

Buying Reviews Breaks the Federal Trade Commission Rules

There are already cases started against companies, affecting their reviews.

How Review Selling Services work

Since reviews have become an important factor in propelling business growth, fake review factories have started to operate. If you enter "buy reviews" into a search engine like Google, you will receive many offers to boost reviews for several hundred dollars.

Such services promise to:

  • Deal with real profiles in certain countries (usually USA, CA, UK or AU).
  • Create a mixture of positive and negative reviews to make the whole picture look more genuine.
  • Write reviews containing idioms and keywords relevant to a certain trade, and have them approved by the customer
  • Publish comments with the desired frequency, etc.

What Happens When You Buy Reviews

  • How to buy Google Reviews.
  • How to buy Yelp Reviews.
  • Business Review Platforms admit there is a problem.

Buying Google Reviews

The majority of platforms selling Google reviews promise they are completely reliable and offer money-back guarantees, together with exclusive customer support, high work standards and risk-free results, these offers can be compelling and convincing.
review about selling website
People share their good experience of buying Google reviews. But how can we be sure such a review is genuine? Source: Quora
Business owners often share their positive experiences and the contacts of sites that sell Google reviews, but how we can track that these reviews are not fake.

Google still tracks the IP address, type of device, poster location, etc. for each incoming review. If a local business gets reviews from another country, the search giant would probably suspect them as having come from a seller.

Google shuts down suspect accounts and penalizes the business owner through their SEO and organic rankings. Instead of propelling your business forward, the (paid) fake reviews will send it plummeting.
Close more deals with quick and easy customer interaction!

Buying Yelp Reviews

Yelp has a pretty clear position regarding fake reviews. It even demands that businesses do nothing to encourage anyone to leave them Yelp reviews.

Analysis of several data points helps Yelp to identify the violations. It could be:

  • The number of friends the poster has on Yelp.
  • The poster's check-in at the commented business.
  • Other questionable reviews that have been posted from the same IP address, etc.

Unlike Google, Yelp applies an automatic filter to catch fake reviews. And they are pretty tough in their penalties:

  • Yelp monitors and even removes suspected listings.
  • Yelp stops the penalized business from advertising.
  • Yelp issues the ranking penalty.

Business Review Platforms Admit There is a Problem

Yelp and Google recognize that there is a problem with fake reviews and apply a clear ban policy for marketing campaigns based on reviews buying. They develop new algorithms to discover fake reviews more efficiently and remove suspicious posts without hesitation.

In February 2018 Google detected that 4 out of 5 positive reviews left for Game Dev Tycoon were fake. After a triple-check, the search engine decided to remove them. But still, many agencies offer local businesses their support in boosting their reviews.

Earn, don't buy

You can buy reviews to no avail. The irony is that you cannot even claim against the seller. It has been illegal from the very beginning, so you can only leave a negative review.
bought review at no avail
… but you can never be sure who is OK. Source: Quora
You can roll the dice and hope that the fake reviews work wonders. However, the integration of efficient online reputation management seems to be a savvier solution. A proper strategy for processing consumer reviews will encourage people to post reviews more frequently. You can also develop your own strategy to get feedback from a customer.
Originally published Aug 11, 2019 10:00:00 AM

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