Andrew removes questionable reviews online for a living. Business is booming
Online reviews have caught the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which this year pledged to target companies that manipulate online reviews to convey false or misleading impressions about their products or services. , or those of their competitors.
“Companies can manipulate online reviews in a variety of ways to mislead consumers,” a spokeswoman said.
“A business may post false positive reviews of its products or services, or offer consumers incentives to post positive reviews or remove negative reviews. Companies can also post fake negative reviews about their competitors.
The spokeswoman said the watchdog is concerned that platforms aren’t doing enough to prevent, detect and remove fake reviews.
The ACCC has already taken legal action against companies over misleading online reviews, with accommodation provider Meriton being ordered to pay $3 million in penalties for manipulating TripAdvisor reviews.
Lawsuits are also unfolding overseas, with the US Federal Trade Commission recently reaching a $4.2 million settlement with online fast fashion retailer Fashion Nova, claiming it had only published only four and five star reviews between 2015 and 2019.
A study published last year by the World Economic Forum found that 4% of all online reviews were fake. He calculated that fake online reviews influenced $900 million in e-commerce spending in Australia.
Mr Whitford said that while many consumers were wary of reviews left on e-commerce platforms, they perceived reviews on Google and job-evaluation website Glassdoor as more independent.
As companies have grappled with labor shortages during the pandemic, they have been particularly keen to remove unfair and unfavorable reviews from websites such as Glassdoor.
“It’s a tough recruiting market,” Mr. Whitford said. “An aggressive criticism of a former employee can be extremely damaging. Good candidates want to work for good companies, so they really seek them out.
Paul Harrison, director of consumer behavior at Deakin University, said consumers turn to online reviews to confirm their unconscious beliefs and desires about goods and services.
“From a psychological perspective, we filter out reviews that question what we were hoping to achieve,” Dr. Harrison said.
He said there was a “darkness” in many online reviews, and consumers shouldn’t assume they were a source of truth.
He said regulators were scrambling to keep tabs on the problem because online reviews didn’t align well with legacy ideas about advertising.
“It’s tricky because it’s not an advertisement, it’s a review,” he said. “Regulators are dealing with old legislation that is not built around the end user. How do we help consumers make the best choices based on their needs?
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