The owner of a car sales business has announced he plans to take legal action against tech giant Google over a string of what he says are false, damaging reviews of his business.
Richard Boatwright, who owns a garage in Essex, told the BBC that he felt “helpless” as Google refused to remove negative comments left about his business. He added that Google was not interested in the claim, despite being provided with information that proved the reviews were fake.
Google countered by saying that it constantly monitors content and that the majority of the 20 million reviews of businesses made by its users each day are genuine.
Online reviews can be both a blessing and a curse to businesses. Adam French, of Which?, told the BBC:
“Our research has found fake reviews are prevalent across different platforms and the kind of influence they have on our shopping decisions is huge. I think there’s more that companies like Google could do to shut down these fake reviews. They can be quite passive, relying on people to report them.”
As Black Friday weekend and the Christmas season approaches, and the second coronavirus lockdown in England prohibits the opening of non-essential retail, many shoppers will be turning to online retailers to pick up moneysaving deals. In the online world, as French highlights, reviews can often be a make-or-breaker when deciding whether to make a purchase from a particular retailer.
Consumers should be warned to watch out for not only false reviews that damage a business, but also false reviews that commend one. The BBC recently posted a piece on how to spot fake reviews on sites like Amazon, which includes being sceptical and keeping an eye out for similar language being used in numerous reviews.
From a business perspective, while receiving fabricated reviews about your business can be disheartening and frustrating, the key to combating them, aside from contacting the review site to shut them down, is in your response. Our Content Team Leader John wrote a piece not so long ago about what to do if you get a one-star review.
If you have a successful online presence, the damage of negative or fabricated reviews will be lessened. If you need help in establishing an effective presence online, which can in turn produce positive reviews, speak to us at Engage Web today.
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