Before I make a large purchasing decision, like determining which notebook computer or other technology equipment to buy and where to get it for the right price, I check various websites to find reviews written by owners. For a company like Best Buy or Amazon.com, allowing users to create product reviews is a great way to get people coming back to the website, purchasing products, and building community.
What regulations exist to stop companies from paying individuals to write fake favorable reviews of their products or fake unfavorable reviews of other companies’ products? There are none. An article on CNN Money reminds the buyer to beware.
As online shopping’s burgeoning popularity fuels a mad rush by both brick-and-mortar and “virtual” sellers to grow their brands in cyberspace, some sellers are resorting to underhanded methods like feeding bogus merchant reviews in a desperate move to get noticed in a crowded marketplace.
Some companies go to extra lengths to make sure that the reviews submitted by customers and posted by the companies are legitimate, but the best way to protect yourself as a consumer is to gather as much information online and offline, and use your brain in determining what is a relevant, independent point of view.