We’ve written before about companies offering free stuff or discounts in exchange for positive online reviews — or for removing negative comments — but a restaurant in California says a disgruntled diner tried to use the threat of a scathing Yelp review to squeeze a $100 gift card out of the eatery. [More]
Online rating sites are a great tool for consumers researching services their peers have already experienced. So in the case of getting cosmetic surgery, a bad review is akin to a huge spitball thrown at a business, which is why an Orlando plastic surgeon is suing one of his former patients for defaming him online. [More]
Anyone who has sifted through anonymous “user” reviews of products is likely aware that there’s a good chance some of those comments were posted by shills trying to game the system to make the product look much better or worse than it is. While there are already a number of common-sense ways to suss out a bogus review, science has found a way to identify entire groups of review spammers. [More]
Since the dawn of online reviews, businesses have been attempting to game the system by flooding sites with bogus star ratings, fictitious reviews. And even though the major sites have enacted safeguards to prevent automated ways of rigging reviews, there’s little they can do to stop an actual human from logging on to boost a review in exchange for a few pennies. [More]
It’s no secret that hotels put bogus user reviews of themselves on sites like TripAdvisor, but usually they’re more discreet than this. TripAdvisorWatch found an example of an owner of several hotels in Hanoi posting on freelancer.com under his real name asking “if anyone can teach me the way to write reviews on this forum in which my reviews can not be found as fake and be removed.” [More]
What’s the purpose of hotel reviews on Expedia.com? Based on the recent experiences of two customers who wrote to Consumerist this week, it’s not to provide a balanced overview of customers’ experiences. Two unrelated readers stayed in different hotel chains in different cities, had bad experiences, and wanted to warn other travelers. Expedia posted neither of their reviews. Why not? [More]
Pushing the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” mentality to the extreme, an online retailer allegedly stalked and threatened customers in order to boost his search engine visibility. The seller reportedly went to such extremes that federal authorities stepped in and arrested him on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. [More]
Last week we showed you a few ways to spot fake online reviews and asked you to submit yours. We got some really great stuff! Here’s the tips and techniques savvy Consumerist readers use to ferret out the shills, sockpuppets and charlatans when cruising online reviews of products and services. Get yer learn on! [More]
Here are some warning signs that an online review is being left by a shill, or shills: [More]
When will we see an airline passenger bill of rights? Why aren’t there 5-star and 2-star airlines? How do you deal with hotels filling review sites with fake testimonials? These questions came up in a conversation about the travel industry I had the other night. Here’s some possible answers:
After receiving two defective “new” headsets and a third one that was missing packaging materials, Lance left EveryDayDeals neutral feedback. EverydayDeals then offered to give Lance a partial refund, but only if he withdrew his non-thumbs-up feedback. Lance’s email, and EveryDayDeals bribe note, inside…
“MyGearStore,” a seller on Amazon, tried to bribe reader Michael into remove less-than-stellar feedback. Michael writes, “There were some problems with the order, and I gave them neutral feedback (which was pretty generous).” They said they would give him a partial refund if he took down his feedback. He complained to Amazon, who didn’t reply except with a “thanks for emailing us” and to MyGearStore, who didn’t respond. One tool consumers use to evaluate the slew of online retailers out there is by looking through feedback left by other customers. If stores are trying to pay off customers to get rid of negative feedback, one, they’re stupid because they’re going to get caught. Two, it means you should be suspicious if the feedback for one store, product, or seller is overwhelmingly positive. Critical reading, it’s a good ability to have. The original bribe note sent by MyGearStore, inside..
Products don’t advertise their drawbacks leaving shoppers to rely on online reviews as one of the only ways to determine a product’s true worth. Salon argues in an article heavy on fluff and light on content that reviews are just a meaningless muddle of questionable opinions. We disagree, but the article does raise one good question: how do you judge the value online reviews?