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Engage Web John Murray, Author at Engage Web

Building on the Welsh Border: Engage Web Team Building Day 2021

Posted on July 29, 2021

Since our last Engage Web team building day, two years have passed and our team has almost doubled in size. Days away from the office like this are often how we really get to know our team, and with three members on their first team building day with the company, it was an (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Could fake online reviews become illegal?

Posted on July 20, 2021

A new government proposal is seeking to come down harder on companies that attempt to deceive people online, and the part that has grabbed the headlines is the suggestion that writing or hosting fake online reviews could become an offence.

Online reviews are now big part of how we shop and make decisions. One study says that 91% of us read them, and that 84% of us trust them as much as a personal recommendation. That’s despite the fact that they can easily be manipulated in one of two ways.

The first of these ways is sabotage. It’s often the case that because many people rate products and services as five stars by default, we take the one- and two-star reviews more seriously, but how do we know they’re fair? When you read a review of a hotel being dirty, overpriced and full of rude staff, can you be sure it wasn’t written by a rival hotel from across the road? I recently read the reviews of a book on Amazon that had an average rating of three stars, which is quite poor by Amazon’s standards, but it turned out most of the poor reviews where written by people who had got into a political argument with the author on Twitter and had nothing to do with the book.

Perhaps a more common misuse of review sites, however, is for companies to churn out positive reviews of their own products and services under the illusion of being customers. I’m almost certain I came across a case of this recently when I had a poor experience with an item and seemed to be one of many going by Trustpilot reviews. However, the company was still maintaining an average of over four stars. This was because although the company was getting detailed scathing reviews almost daily, it was also benefiting from five or six five-star reviews every day. These were all a similar format of being just a couple of sentences long, unspecific in detail, written in fairly poor English and, most unusually for an online service, all praised an individual staff member.

It certainly seemed suspicious, but I can’t prove this was an example of fake reviews, which is where this proposal may face some difficulty. The fact that it mentions both writing and hosting fake reviews could also be problematic, as a company could be hosting fake reviews unwittingly.

Other parts of the proposal seek to give the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority more powers to tackle unethical online business practice, and it includes misleading subscriptions that are difficult to cancel, and safeguarding people’s money in pre-payment schemes should the company go bust, as happened with the Christmas hamper company Farepak in 2006.

Even the best companies get the occasional negative review, and we’ve written before about what you can do about them, but businesses operating online should make every effort to be transparent and trustworthy. With more and more people shopping on the web, customers should be as confident doing this as they would be in stores. For help in establishing authenticity and trust online, without sneaky tactics like fake reviews, speak to us at Engage Web.

Posted by John Murray

Fleeting presence: Twitter ditches its Stories equivalent after nine months

Posted on July 16, 2021

Sixteen months ago, we wrote about the introduction of Twitter’s Fleets, a Snapchat-style feature that allows users to share thoughts and moments that disappear after 24 hours, similar to (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Three fascinating French internet facts for Bastille Day

Posted on July 14, 2021

Since today is Bastille Day, the national day of France, we’re going to look at our neighbours from across the Channel and what they have brought to the online world. From internet precursors through to post-Brexit regulations, here are three facts you probably didn’t know (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Twitter study shows summer optimism

Posted on July 12, 2021

Twitter users are “forecasting a sunny outlook” for Summer 2021, according to a new report from the social media site, which sheds some light on the themes brands and marketers might want to address in their social media (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Google introduces new search feature for Chrome for Android

Posted on July 9, 2021

Android users have spotted a new Google Search feature on their devices, literally adding another dimension to their search as they are (more…)

Posted by John Murray

What type of communicator are you?

Posted on July 8, 2021

It’s easy to think of communication as simply meaning talking to each other. Of course, there are two components to effective communication – talking and (more…)

Posted by John Murray

How to create a thread on Twitter

Posted on July 7, 2021

When Twitter doubled the number characters allowed in a tweet from 140 to 280 in 2017, there was speculation it could change the way (more…)

Posted by John Murray
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