What Are Fake Shopify Reviews?
Fake Shopify reviews are reviews that are written by a person/persons that have not actually used the product or service. Fake reviews are also reviews left by people who are
- paid to write the review or
- given free product(s)/service(s) to write a good review.
Usually, a company will actively solicit fake positive reviews to increase their sales and improve the chances others will purchase.
Fake reviews aren’t just bought to improve the rating of a product, they are also purchased to ruin the reputation of a competitor. There are businesses out there that source negative reviews to their competitor’s product(s)/service(s) to bring them down.
The thinking behind this strategy is to make a competitor’s product look bad so a customer will buy another product. The hope is that the customer will buy theirs. This is common among stores that sell similar products and are competing on price. The only differentiation is the glowing reviews one product or seller received over another.
How does Google Feel About Fake Reviews On Shopify?
A lot of companies pour quite a bit of money and time into spamming fake reviews. The growth of this tactic highlights just how important having reviews as social proof on your Shopify store can be for your business.
Google Will Penalize Fake Shopify Reviews
However, Google will penalize fake Shopify reviews as having them on your website is a violation of their terms of service. Penalization by Google could spell disaster for your business. You will
- Lose out on organic search by being removed from search results, or
- Be banned from Google entirely!
We all know that getting ranked on Google is extremely important for Shopify stores. Thas is because the rich results you get from reviews are one of the top reasons businesses get high click-through rates in search.
How Google Finds Fake Shopify Reviews
As you know, Google is frequently updating its algorithm to make the user experience better and this means rooting out and monitoring fake reviews. Because of this, Google is also moving towards more stringent review guidelines for reviews on not just reviews and ratings but
- FAQs and Q&A
The impact of reviews is so important that Google says “Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. (For example, business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews.)” Make sure that you are not caught with fake or misleading data on your website. Google is looking for those things.
How Can Fake Reviews Hurt Your Business?
You’re probably wondering how fake reviews can even hurt your business right?
Well, there have been many major cases where a business has faked reviews and have gotten nailed for it. Just recently in October of 2019, Sunday Riley (a skincare brand that sells through Sephora) got slammed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
They asked their employees to create fake accounts through Sephora and leave glowing reviews on their products. Many customers now no longer trust the brand because of this manipulation and brand trust is so hard to build, but so easy to ruin. Now customers feel like they can’t rely on reviews to decide whether something is good or not.
This is just one example of many where things went south for the brand because they were trying to be dishonest and pump up their positive review numbers.
Other real-life businesses fined for fake reviews:
- New York: Attorney General Settles With 19 Companies In Fake Review Crackdown
- California: Car Dealers Fined $3.6 Million For Fake Reviews & Deceptive Practices
How Does Shopify Combat Fake Reviews?
In addition to getting fined in real life by hosting fake reviews on your Shopify store, there are other consequences.
Posting fake reviews is against Shopify’s Terms of Service, and they will crack down on you. Shopify understands that the ecosystem of the entire platform is put at risk by a few unscrupulous merchants. Your store can be shut down by Shopify at any time if you are caught
- running a random review generator on your website or
- uploading fake reviews through an app
That means no more revenue and no more customers!
Other Drawbacks of Fake Shopify Reviews
When you use fake reviews, not only do you lost trust from your customers, but you aren’t getting valuable feedback to help you improve your product.
How can you know what is working and what isn’t when you don’t have any real reviews? How can you know that the pigment in your eyeshadow isn’t strong enough or that the extension cord you have for your chargers isn’t long enough? You can’t improve without feedback.
There is nothing wrong with hearing negative feedback. If you don’t address it your business can’t move forward and the problem will happen with future customers who will leave truly negative reviews.
That is why you should always respond to reviews good and bad on your website. Doing so helps people see that you are an active business and are always looking to improve.
Dealing With Fake Reviews
First, if you have fake reviews on your Shopify store, remove them IMMEDIATELY. Have fake reviews that are left by your competition? Respond to them in a friendly manner, and offer the poster a refund for their purchase!
There was no purchase, but it shows that you are willing to work with people who have had a bad experience and this will help future customers feel better about doing business with you.
How to Gather Legitimate Reviews
If you are looking to gather reviews, consider using an app that helps you verify the accuracy of your reviews. There are lots of great Shopify apps like Fera that will help you verify, manage, gather and display
- shopper counts
- recent sales pop-ups
- any other user-generated content
Customers are getting savvy about fakery online. For Shopify store owners reading this, you should be considering the long-term consequences of participating in fake review activity.
Get Your Shopify Reviews Verified By Fera
Fera will help your shoppers see that the data is verified by Fera so they know they can trust you and the content they are seeing.
Your business is important, it may be helping you save or retirement, buy a new house, feed your family, or just buy cool vacations. Either way, using fake reviews could make you lose business quickly if your shoppers realize you are lying to them.