300,000 € and 2 years’ prison: this is what professionals risk if they generate false customer reviews. Consumers are not spared: an Internet user was ordered to pay €2,500 in damages and €5,000 in legal costs after publishing a false negative review of a restaurant… that hadn’t even opened yet. The DGCCRF (French Department of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) takes action against misleading commercial practices and false online reviews. However, for some companies, identifying false customer reviews and protecting themselves against them is not always an easy matter.
In this article, we’ll help you spot fake customer reviews and give you 4 tips to avoid them.
Checklist of tips for detecting fake customer reviews
According to a Bazaarvoice survey carried out in 2024, 75% of consumers express concern about fake customer reviews. These represent a serious challenge to a company’s e-reputation, and it’s important to identify them. Here are our tips for successfully detecting fraudulent customer reviews:
- Author’s identity. The first thing to check is whether the reviewer’s profile has been created recently, or whether he or she has published a single review, especially if it is extremely positive or negative. These are usually the hallmarks of fraudulent reviews.
- Review content and length. Fake customer reviews are often succinct and lack precise details. A negative review lacking justification and context can betray a fake customer review. It also happens that some negative reviews target products or services not offered by the company… This should arouse your suspicion.
- Vocabulary and spelling. It’s important to pay attention to reviews that are full of superlatives or numerous spelling errors. These characteristics may be signs of reviews fabricated with the intention of damaging your reputation.
Suspicion of unfair competition. Negative customer reviews that promote one of your company’s direct competitors should arouse your suspicion. It’s not impossible that the reviewer is the competitor in question. In this case, a false review is tantamount to an act of unfair competition.
4 tips to avoid false negative reviews
You now know the criteria for judging the veracity of a customer review. Detecting false reviews is only the first step. Now let’s take a look at how to protect yourself from false customer reviews. Here are 4 tips from Verified Reviews.
1 – Prioritize dialogue to identify the veracity of a review
If you decide to collect and manage customer reviews via a platform that allows voluntary contribution, you run the risk of receiving reviews from anyone – including people with malicious motives… At no time can you be sure that the reviewers are real customers with experience of your products and services. Having to deal with a customer review whose authenticity you question? When faced with a review that raises doubts, adopt a proactive approach and engage in dialogue with the author of the review under doubt. By interacting with the author of a potentially suspicious review, you show that your company values listening and understanding, even when misunderstandings arise. Nevertheless, to minimize risk from the outset, it’s a good idea to adopt a verified review platform. Which naturally leads us to the second tip.
2 – Only collect certified customer reviews
Allowing anyone to publish a review without proof of actual purchase is unfortunately the best way to collect false customer reviews. The solution to protecting your e-reputation from the potential damage caused by inauthentic reviews? Adopt a collection solution that only authorizes certified reviews. Collecting reviews from certified customers is the guarantee of receiving genuine customer reviews. This is the philosophy behind Verified Reviews. With our customer review platform, you can collect reviews only from customers who have made a purchase. In concrete terms, our solution enables you to automatically request customer feedback by email after a purchase. All reviews collected with Avis Vérifiés are authentic. Our platform is a guarantee of authenticity, since the merchant is obliged to survey all customers who have purchased a product or service..
3 – Choose a trusted partner to collect authentic customer reviews
If you want to guarantee the integrity of the customer reviews you collect, we strongly recommend working with a certified and trusted partner. Since 2014, the NF Z74-501 standard, now known as NF ISO 20488, sets out clear requirements for the transparent collection, management and publication of customer reviews. Obtaining NF Service certification, based on this standard, is an indicator of quality for companies and platforms collecting online reviews. Verified Reviews is proud to have been NF Service certified since March 28, 2014, underlining our commitment to transparent and ethical practices. Moreover, we actively participated in the development of the NF ISO 20488 standard, helping to define a legal framework for an activity that, at the time, benefited from little regulation. By adhering to the guiding principles of AFNOR, Verified Reviews ensures that the collection of customer reviews is both reliable and authentic, eliminating the risk of false reviews.
4 – Collect customer reviews continuously
It’s vital to maintain your reputation on the Internet and social networks – and that means sound, ongoing management of customer reviews, which are the main vectors of your brand image. To minimize the volume and impact of false customer reviews, we advise you to implement a continuous customer review collection strategy. In concrete terms, we recommend that you systematically solicit your customers’ feedback after each purchase. Collecting post-purchase customer reviews will not only help you improve your brand image, but will also have an impact on:
- Your SEO performance. Customer reviews are user-generated content (UGC) that enriches the content of your website.
- Your conversion rates. The presence of authentic customer reviews on your website (and elsewhere) builds trust with your potential customers and multiplies your chances of winning them over.
According to one study, 93% of consumers read customer reviews before buying online. Other studies corroborate these figures. Customer reviews are a must if you want to improve your sales performance and boost your sales on digital channels.
Here’s another argument in favor of collecting continuous customer reviews: according to a study by BrightLocal, 44% of consumers believe that a customer review must be less than a month old to be relevant. Buyers prefer recent reviews. If you collect reviews continuously, negative or suspicious reviews will eventually be diluted by more recent ones.
The risk of receiving false customer reviews can be virtually eliminated. Provided you use a certified review management platform and adopt a continuous collection approach. If you want to make the most of customer reviews, we strongly recommend that you set up an automated post-purchase review collection scenario. We hope we’ve convinced you. This will guarantee not only a good volume of reviews, but also, and above all, the authenticity of these reviews. The Verified Reviews platform can help you implement this virtuous approach.