Why do people rate products online

"Really cheap, there are German Google reviews with a money-back guarantee here" or "Buy Google reviews - easy and successful" - With these snappy slogans, online services advertise companies that are looking for a better network. Reputation are.

Why should a company spend money getting someone to write positive reviews? The answer to this is immediately available on the websites of the numerous providers represented on the Internet: (Purchased) customer ratings on Google can achieve significant increases in sales. At least 30% are possible - according to the advertising promises.

This blog post explains why you shouldn't go into these offers and why buying Google ratings is not a good idea.

Why Do Companies Buy Google Reviews?

It's true: Positive online reviews are important - be it on review portals such as Amazon, Trusted Shops, ProvenExpert or Google. Companies can use it to increase their sales. Because a good reputation strengthens potential customers' trust in a company, its brand and its products or services.

Image: Capterra

As the customer journey is becoming increasingly digital, Google is also playing an increasingly important role. If a company has stored its data (address, type of product / service, etc.) on Google My Business, the program shows this in the case of corresponding search queries - for example for the company name - in Google searches as well as in Google Maps.

The interested party learns important details from the reviews. It is understandable that companies of all types want to present the best possible picture here. And that they want to "cover up" negative ratings and reviews with a large number of positive entries.

How can companies achieve this goal as quickly and easily as possible? You buy Google reviews with fake experiences from fake accounts. That's the theory.

This is why buying fake Google reviews is not a good idea

The Reviews on google are not just plain numbers or meaningless comments. Different departments of a company like sales, marketing and customer service can learn a lot from real reviews. For example:

  • How do you like the customers that product or the service

  • What works, what doesn't?

  • Which criticism and Suggestions for improvement is there?

  • Does the product work with the target group as assumed by the company? Do the customers understand?

The reviews reflect the honest opinion of the customers. That’s worth a lot. This is the only way they can alert companies to problems and weaknesses so that they can make changes and improvements and thus improve their sales.

Paying companies for fake reviews can have the following consequences:

  • The real feedback blurs with the fake one. It is therefore impossible for companies to draw valid conclusions.

  • Interested parties get a wrong (= embellished) picture of the company, its products and services. This can develop into a boomerang if the prospect becomes a customer and then realizes that he has been given wrong reviews. He's disappointed, upset and no longer a good brand ambassador.

  • In the worst case, customers feel so cheated by the fake reviews, that they trigger a shit storm or even take legal action against the company with the fake reviews. That could seriously damage the company's reputation.

Is Buying Google Reviews Even Legal?

Another important aspect Why Businesses Shouldn't Buy Google Reviews: Most of them are illegal!

According to § 5 Abs. 1 Nr. 1 of the UWG (law against unfair competition) the purchase of fake reviews can be a misleading business act. Because the interested party receives a distorted picture. And that by people who have never tested or experienced the products or services and have therefore not made a verified purchase.

Attorney Karsten Gulden explains in his blog:

"The consumer who assumes the authenticity of the reviews is thus deceived and misled."

Reviews are only legally secure if they come from people who were actually customers or patients of the reviewing companies or doctors and the reviews are an expression of the author's personal opinion.

The specialist lawyer for copyright and media law and mediator thus comes to the conclusion:

“Companies and service providers are therefore strongly advised not to buy or fake reviews. This can rightly be warned and prosecuted. "

What are the alternatives?

No question: real reviews! Since these are often only sporadic, it is advisable to address the issue Google reviews to be included in the customer service strategy.

There are a number of possible measures for this, such as:

  • Encourage customersto write reviews at all, for example after a verified purchase or service (pizza delivery, dental treatment, etc.).

  • The Customers receive something in return like coupon codes or discounts for a review.

Businesses should be honest

Granted: the possibility of fake ones Shop on Google Reviews, sounds tempting. Especially when a company has too few reviews or the negative reviews pile up. Nobody likes that. And it can be detrimental to business. Then it is time to take action. But by legal means, please.

The correctness of the content of the considered legally relevant aspects, as here in the area of ​​the UWG, cannot be guaranteed due to constantly changing case law and changed legal situation.

Header image: Mitchell Luo / Unsplash

Originally published April 17, 2020, updated December 18, 2020

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