15% of Social Media Reviews Will Be Fake By 2014

15% of Social Media Reviews Will Be Fake By 2014

September 20th, 2012

For most of us, an exceptional number of top-notch online reviews determines which movie, hotel room, car or gadget we will choose over the competition. It’s the same for foodies deciding where to host a celebratory dinner or just looking for a great morning cup of joe.

What’s now a huge problem with falsified online restaurant reviews is going to explode over time. By 2014, 10% to 15% of social media reviews will be fake and paid for by companies, according to a new study by tech research company Gartner. Increased customer reliance on amateur reviews exacerbates unmerited ratings.

Increasingly, businesses buy forged and unmerited five-star reviews to stay on customers’ radars.

Studies show even the smallest push for fake positive reviews makes a huge difference in restaurant success. According to a University of California, Berkeley study, a slight half-star improvement increases the number of dinner reservations at an eatery.

Third-party businesses are getting rich busting out five-star reviews. Entrepreneurs offer to write positive restaurant reviews on help-for-hire sites like Fiverr and online forum Digital Point, according to The New York Times.

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on fake reviews, while the media attention is getting big brands in trouble. Companies face litigation from the FTC for forging fake reviews.