by Michael Lowrey
Super interesting article from the Los Angeles Times via the Charlotte Observer on fake online product reviews. A highlight:
There have long been reports and rumors of businesses posting negative reviews of their competitors’ products or companies that pay or reward users to write glowing reviews, a practice known as cyber-shilling.
But new research shows that loyal customers are writing extremely negative reviews about products they never purchased.
Marketing professors Duncan Simester of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Eric Anderson of Northwestern University did a study based on reviews posted on the website of a major private-label apparel company.
The duo found that about 5 percent of the product reviews were written by customers with no record of actually buying the item. Those reviews were “significantly more negative” than the others.
Those bogus reviews have consequences, Simester said. Low ratings result in significantly less demand for an item for at least a year.