By: David Ensing
In July, I posted an article about the Maritz Research 2013 Online Customer Review study that showed about one in four consumers thought the information presented on dedicated review and rating sites is unfair. Part of the reason for the perceived unfairness was that customers were concerned about fake reviews. If you haven’t seen it already, I thought this article in the New York Times might interest you. Apparently, the New York attorney’s general office is taking fake review posting seriously. They set up a sting operation, threatened prosecution, and just settled with 17 companies (and some of their customers) that offered to post fake reviews.
Prosecuting companies for posting fake reviews is a great step to enhance the integrity of review site information. However, it doesn’t address other practices such as cherry-picking happy customers to post reviews. What is really needed is a system to verify that reviews are from real customers and that they have not been filtered or cherry picked. It seems to me, market research firms and their customers who conduct customer experience research are in the perfect place to provide that service. What are your thoughts?