Fake Online Reviews

Can their growth be curbed?


With online retail sales exploding in recent years, especially during the pandemic, growing to 14 percent of consumer purchases, shoppers are increasingly relying on online customer reviews. Such reviews have skyrocketed, but are becoming less and less trustworthy. Up to 45 percent of online comments are estimated to be posted by people who have not tried a product or service or are paid—in cash or in kind—to give a thumbs up or, to hurt a competitor, a thumbs down. Some firms suppress bad reviews. Such bogus or hidden endorsements cost consumers an estimated $152 billion annually. For business, they pose unfair competition and, ultimately, engender a loss of trust that drags down online sales. Consumers should beware of overly rosy reviews, particularly those using vague ...

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