Security comes in many forms, from home, work place & personal security, bug sweeping and cyber, to name but a few. But what about online shopping? For years, companies have been paying people to write positive reviews about their products and services. The UK government has stepped in with plans to give the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) powers to fine companies and individuals involved in creating and disseminating fake reviews.
Although this intervention has been widely welcomed, the question can also be raised whether regulation will just push illegal activities underground, and whether market mechanisms themselves will provide more of an incentive to improve the trustworthiness of review websites.
There is now copious evidence of the effects of reviews on consumers’ choices. The CMA estimated that the average UK household spends about £900 each year after being influenced by online reviews. It has also estimated that such reviews potentially influence £23bn of UK customer spending every year.
The UK consumer organisation Which? has been following the issue of fake reviews for some time. It undertook a controlled experiment with 10,000 consumers who were presented with varied experimental conditions relating to faked scores and comments about a product. The findings were robust – 10.5% of participants chose the product in the control conditions with no fake reviews, but this rose to 23.1% for an identical product where faked comments and inflated scores were presented.
Here at Valkyrie, we encourage people to thoroughly research products before buying something online. There are plenty of legitimate consumer review sites available which are easily accessible and simply spending time going through your browser could save you wasting your time and money on products and services with fake reviews.
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