We live in a time where people are keyboard warriors avidly flying the flag for the freedom of speech and are only too happy to leave a negative or fake review to slate competition, for fun, for personal reasons, or naming and shaming.
Negative and fake reviews are likely to create more of an impact in a purchasers mind than positive reviews. They generate discriminative informativeness and can potentially drive away business.
As was the case when one of my clients recently received a fake review. We knew it was fake because the content of the review had plenty of anomalies that didn't stack up. Fortunately, the business has plenty of positive reviews across several portals for potential customers to make an informed decision. The author profile showed plenty of telltale signs, as the local competition had received more positive reviews, so it was p[r]etty obvious to see what the game plan was.
The digital platform is a vast space to police and protect, and the small business owner leaves themselves open to negatively and positively abuse. The review process works both ways. It is not unheard of for business owners to invest in creating fake reviews for their competitors. Some businesses will entice/bribe employees or their inner circle of loyal fans to leave a positive review for their business as much as they would be only too happy to have them leave poor reviews for their competitors. And the hospitality industry is no exception.
As someone working within the marketing arena for ten years, leaving a bad review for my client's competition would never cross my mind. And as a consumer, I have been disappointed by their competition, but I chose to talk directly to them about it when it happened. The business decided to do nothing, and that is fine. The nature of my issue blighted my experience, but that may not be an issue for someone else. That business was not bothered at losing my custom because they have customers who are happy with what they offer. Likewise, my client has clients who are satisfied with what they offer.
Had the fake review that they received had any validity to it, they would have responded accordingly. But why should a fake review be allowed to remain? And on this occasion, it did not. The client challenged the author, and the author removed the review.
It is advisable to note that here in France, one has to be very careful of the kind of comments they place in the public domain as it could land the reviewer in a spot of bother, more so than the business in question.
I had always remembered a phrase from way back when, before we had access to digital playgrounds. "If you are unhappy with something, tell me [the boss, the big cheese, the business owner] if you are happy with something, tell your friends."
In the meantime, take a look at this collection of funny comebacks to fake reviews: