Dealing with fake Google/Yelp/Facebook reviews

October 21, 2021

Have you ever come across a fake review? It’s not always obvious. You might be suspicious when you find a review page with only 5-star reviews and not a single criticism, or if a business has a sudden influx of negative reviews, all posted on the same day. Some companies use fake reviews to positively skew their online reputation - other times, fake reviews are used to bring down their competitors. A survey showed that 82% of consumers have recently come across a fake review. If you are a business owner, and you’ve received a barrage of fake reviews, you may be wondering what your options are. Here are some steps you can take to help the situation:

Verify that the review is not genuine. If the reviewer used their full name, reference it with your customer list to see if you’ve ever done business with them. Check the profile of the reviewer - was it created the same day that the review was posted? Is that review the only one they’ve posted? These details strengthen the claim that the review is fake. You want to be absolutely sure that the review isn’t real before you take further action. 

Report it to the website. Each review site has terms of service or community standards that specify how fake reviews are handled. When you spot shady reviews, flag them as soon as possible. Locate the support pages for each website to reach a service representative who can help you handle the issue. Unfortunately, fake reviews are not taken down immediately (and sometimes not at all) so you might be stuck waiting for the website to take action. A study found that Facebook receives thousands of fake reviews every month, so you can bet that those moderators have a lot of flagged reviews to sort through. In the meantime, you can try dealing with it in a few other ways: 

Respond publicly. You know that customers look for reviews when researching a business. If you can’t get the review taken down, it may be worthwhile to leave a response to it. When you are positive that this reviewer is not a customer of yours, consider making it known with a public response. It will show other consumers that this review is not to be trusted. Respond by stating that based on their name, you have never done business with that person. If they’ve made incorrect claims about your business, respond by correcting that false information and use references to prove your point. Writing in a professional tone is important when responding as a business, even if you are frustrated - refrain from using insults or strong language. 

Ask genuine customers for their reviews. Write an email to your loyal clients and ask them to share their experiences. You can include the fact that you’ve recently received several fake reviews, and you want your star rating to accurately represent your services. Customers who value your company will feel inclined to leave their positive feedback and right the wrongful review. 

Consumers place a lot of trust in reviews. Up to 82% of customers use online reviews to research a business, but 68% of them are skeptical of review authenticity. This makes managing fake reviews especially important. Some customers will read a fake review but be unaware that it’s not real. For business owners, this can have a significant negative impact on sales. 

Fake reviews can hurt your business’s reputation. To maintain a high-star rating and authentic online presence, you need a way to monitor and respond to incoming reviews. RepCo offers reputation management software that will help you stay on top. You will be notified whenever you receive reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook so that you can take action immediately - whether you need to flag them or respond. Our review generation process will contact customers automatically and prompt them to leave you feedback. For more information about RepCo, get in touch with us today.

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