Reviews are an important part of online shopping for an increasing number of people, but how can you trust what you are reading? Every time a new company lists with Compare Holiday Money whether it’s for currency exchange, money transfers or travel insurance, we set up a review page so that customers can leave a review.
This is important for a number of reasons:
- It allows customers to share their experience of a company.
- It helps potential customers to make informed decisions.
- It provides companies feedback on what they do well and what they might improve on.
Lots of sellers of all kinds of products rely on good reviews to help sell their products and there are many websites that are only dedicated to publishing reviews. The supplier review pages on our website are hugely popular and we know that many customers will read them before making a purchase.
Are most reviews fake?
Recently, consumer group Which? Published an article claiming the reviews on review site TripAdvisor were not all genuine. This is something that at one time or another many big websites like Amazon, E-bay and Trustpilot have been accused of and all do as much as they can to try and stop fake reviews.
Many big websites will have ‘intelligent’ software that tries to weed out fake reviews. Some will try and make sure the purchase is genuine before they publish. Some will work on a reporting basis so the review is published but would be looked at more closely if it reported by the company or a customer as suspect.
I think it would be dishonest of any website that accepts reviews to say that they are 100% sure their reviews are 100% genuine. Companies that use ‘intelligent’ software will not say how the intelligence works but it would look for certain patterns. Like viruses and malware though, fake reviewers will try and find a way around the defences until it adapts to new methods.
Huge websites that have thousands of reviews posted daily or weekly are unlikely to read them before they are published; they rely on their software or reporting. Compare Holiday Money review pages are very popular but as a medium sized business we can make sureevery review that is posted for any company will be read before it is published. This doesn’t stop fake reviews from being posted but it does make it more likely they will not be published.
Sometimes we suspect that companies write their own reviews or they are fake and they would not be published if we had any suspicion and there are ways of spotting them including:
- IP addresses
- Frequency of reviews
- Other competitors named
- All 5 star reviews
We also have our own version of intelligence that works with the meta-data but I’m not telling how that works! When you have the pleasure of reading hundreds of reviews, sometimes daily, it becomes easier to spot the fakes.
We have reviews left for us sometimes on various sites and we don’t mind good or bad because we have signed up to the ethos. However, like a lot of companies we’ve had reviews left for us that have been inaccurate or wrong and it has been a difficult and time-consuming practice to have them removed. We think that a company should have a fair right of reply to a review so not only do we enable a ‘reply’ option for the businesses to reply to a review but we would also take account of a request to remove one provided we were given a supporting reason.
Some foreign exchange companies that partner with Compare Holiday Money are very proactive in asking for reviews from their customers and in a lot of cases it pays off. It will usually be the independent companies with competitive rates that ask for reviews the most, and they often get them: Not all of them 5 star it should be added! Others, particularly the bigger high street brands probably don’t even ask you to leave a review and probably nobody from the company ever reads their review pages. Because of this they do get a disproportionate amount of negative reviews because customers will only be inclined to leave a review if they are unhappy. Sometimes fake reviews will come in the form of a negative review from a competitor but these are easily spotted and I don’t think that Tesco would think about deliberately leaving a poor review for Sainsbury’s or The Post Office for Marks and Spencer!
In a world that is now dominated by reviews there is no guarantee that ours or any other published reviews are all 100% genuine but we would like to think that that very few fake ones slip through the net. We would definitely encourage you to leave a review of your experience with us or with any of the companies on our websites and you will find the review link in their listing.