Struggling with fake reviews? How to fight the danger

With almost nine out of ten people using reviews before making a purchasing decision, the right reviews are crucial to your clients’ success. That means the wrong reviews have the potential to negatively impact your clients as well. With the proliferation of fake reviews being online, it's no surprise that companies find themselves struggling with fake reviews.

The easy way to respond to online reviews. Download the review response templates right here.

Don’t worry, we’re going to help you come up with a game plan to tackle fake reviews online. But first, let’s talk about why using fake reviews is so dangerous.

Why are fake reviews being online an issue?

When it comes to reputation management, trust is king. Consumers want to purchase from companies they can trust. Fake reviews being online erode that trust, even if the company isn’t responsible for those fake reviews in the first place.

Here are a few statistics that show why reviews are vital and exactly how important the social struggle with fake reviews has become:

  • Almost 90% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (Invespcro).
  • 68% of consumers say they regularly “question the authenticity of reviews” (SearchEngineLand).
  • People consult reviews often and early in their customer journey. 65% state they have sought out reviews in the past week and 94% have done so in the past year (Trustpilot).
  • Approximately 59% of consumers turn to Google for their reviews, with Amazon reviews coming in closely behind at 57% (Bizrate Insights).
  • Only one in five buyers say they completely trust the reviews on brands’ websites, but 70% report they “somewhat” trust them (Oberlo).
  • Over 60% of people won’t purchase from businesses that censor their reviews (Trustpilot).
  • The mix of reviews matters. Over half (52%) of people surveyed said a combination of positive and negative reviews builds trust. Too many positive reviews is one of the major struggles with fake reviews (Bizrate Insights). It may come off as disingenuous.

Reviews also have a significant role in SEO and online reputation management. Frequently monitoring and responding to Google reviews isn’t just good customer service—receiving and replying to Google reviews can boost clients’ search rankings and help with their overall SEO strategy. Dominating Google ratings and reviews is a key way to improve your clients’ SEO.

Dealing with fake reviews being online and getting a handle on review management are clearly non-negotiable tasks when it comes to managing your clients’ online presence in 2023 and beyond. This means that the social struggle with fake reviews will continue.

But where are all these fake reviews online coming from? Knowing how important reviews are to consumers, it’s only natural that clients would want to have as many glowing testimonials for their products and services as possible. Some businesses turn to fake reviews to combat negative reviews or just to boost their overall total, not realizing how dangerous using fake reviews can be for their reputation. Other companies find themselves “review bombed” by competitors who use them to damage customer trust or disrupt SEO efforts. There are even underground markets where people can purchase negative or positive reviews in bulk.

As fake reviews become more prevalent, consumers are getting better at spotting suspicious testimonials. Here are some telltale signs of a fake review:

  • Too positive or negative. People rarely have only good or bad things to share. A review that leans too much to one end of the spectrum might not be genuine.
  • Too! Many! Exclamation! Points!! An MIT study found that reviews with multiple exclamation points were more likely to have been written by people who had not used the product or service.
  • Overly personal details and phrases like “I never write reviews.” If it feels like hyperbole, it probably is.
  • Writing quality. Both perfect or terrible grammar and spelling could be a sign that it came from a content farm.
  • Déjà vu. If the review sounds like the 10 reviews preceding it, chances are it’s fake.
  • Feels like a sales pitch. Some fake reviews will include negative aspects of the product or service, just to justify or explain them away. If someone is bending over backwards to make the review positive, it might be fake.

With people relying on reviews for all different types of purchases, your clients need to be more vigilant than ever about fake reviews online for their products or services. That means going beyond just monitoring Google reviews. While many platforms work to prevent or remove fake reviews, clearly many still slip through both on Google. They also slip through places like Facebook, Amazon, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and anywhere else consumers are looking for feedback before making a purchase.

What you can do about fake reviews being online

When it comes to fake reviews being online, the first step is making sure your clients are responding to every review. It builds trust when customers see businesses engaging with both negative and positive reviews. It shows they’re making good-faith efforts to correct problems. It can also turn someone into a promoter if a negative experience is handled well.

Another idea to use if your clients are struggling with fake reviews is incorporating ways to get more reviews. These tactics don’t need to be complicated: Sometimes just asking customers is all it takes. Using a review management tool like Customer Voice is a great way to automate the process of sending review requests to customers.

There are also ways to report fake reviews being online to the platforms themselves in hopes that they’ll be removed. It isn’t a guarantee, but it’s worth the time it takes to submit them since we know how dangerous leaving fake reviews online can be for a business’ reputation.

How to fight fake reviews on Google

If you believe a review on Google is fake, there are options for reporting it.

Through Google Business Profile

  1. Log into Google Business Profile and choose the Reviews section on the left.
  2. Find the review in question and click on the dots on the right. Then click “Flag as inappropriate.”
  3. Select the reason from the list and click submit. Google will contact you if they need more information to make their decision.

Through Google’s Business Profile Help Center

  1. Sign in and select your business.
  2. Choose either to check the status of a reported review or submit a new review for removal.
  3. Find the review and click Report.
  4. Select the reason from the list and click submit. Google will contact you if they need more information to make their decision.

If you’re still not getting any traction, check out our deeper dive on how to dispute a Google review.

How to fight fake reviews on Amazon

  1. Under the review, click the “Report abuse” button.
  2. If you feel your case needs to be laid out, email Include the product’s ASIN number, the name of the reviewer, and the date and time the review was posted.

How to fight fake reviews on Facebook

  1. From your client’s Facebook page, select the Reviews tab.
  2. Find the review you’d like to report, and select the three dots in the right-hand corner.
  3. Click “Report post.”
  4. Select why you’re reporting it (most of the time, this will be “Spam”).

How to fight fake reviews on TripAdvisor

  1. Sign into your client’s account and navigate to the My Business section.
  2. Click on “Manage Reviews.”
  3. Click on “See our guidelines and submit a comment.”
  4. Submit your reasoning and any proof (up to 500 characters).

How to fight fake reviews on Yelp

  1. Sign into your client’s Yelp Business profile (or create a new one for them).
  2. Click Reviews on the left.
  3. Find the review in question and click on the three dots. Then click “Report Review.”
  4. Select your reason from the dropdown menu and add your explanation.

When it comes to making the struggle with fake reviews a bit easier, the best defense is a good offense. That means:

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

Turn your digital agency into a scalable power house with Vendasta

Share This