Local Google+ pages updated their review spam algorithms on the 31st January 2013. Now that online reviews are so widely used, accessing genuine content becomes more important than ever to the user.
The growth of product or service endorsements via online reviews is another element of digital innovation that already has a pronounced impact on consumer behaviour. All review websites have a balancing act between optimising review volume with spam. How review sites get that personal touch without making the process too onerous?
1) How the user connects.
The way a user connects with a review website is critical and must be made genuine. On Amazon, connecting is via your online account. On TripAdvisor, the connection method is Facebook.com. Your Yelp reviews now syndicated to Apple Maps. On Judge Service, you are invited to fill in a survey via email based on your car dealership experience for sales or aftersales. We have your car’s registration plate from our ongoing relationship with a car dealer. If creating a profile on a review website is in a silo with their existing online activity, then spam entries become more of a risk.
2) The level of user involvement
If providing a review is too easy, then review sites can be abused. On Trip Advisor, the main body of the review must be 200 characters. This slows the applicant down – and positively impacts on review quality.
A great review site combines technical and human moderation processes with the use of automated spam filters and manual moderation for every single review entry. Whilst computers are more reliable than humans in the mechanical context, applying common sense to what is being published on any website with user generated content is key. Trip Advisor makes it clear that spam just isn’t an option with their review moderation and fraud detection page.
Online reviews are yet another wonder of the internet, allowing us to have consumer opinion throughout the buying process so that we don’t have to purely rely on old fashioned, offline referrals. With tight measures in place the power of this content is considerable and makes all of our lives easier when researching virtually any new commodity.