Ever wonder about the authenticity of fans, followers, likes and reviews with some of the social media sites? Or is it just getting to be a bit too common for all the social media reviews and ratings to always have a positive endorsement?
This could be the beginning of a trend and according to Gartner Research. analysts say that by 2014,10-15 percent of social media reviews will be fake and paid for by enterprising companies.
“With over half of the Internets population on social networks, organizations are scrambling for new ways to build bigger follower bases, generate more hits on videos, garner more positive reviews than their competitors and solicit ‘likes’ on their Facebook pages,” said Jenny Sussin, senior research analyst at Gartner. “Many marketers have turned to paying for positive reviews with cash, coupons and promotions including additional hits on YouTube videos in order to pique site visitors' interests in the hope of increasing sales, customer loyalty and customer advocacy through social media ‘word of mouth’ campaigns.”
In 2009 the FTC “determined that paying for positive reviews without disclosing that the reviewer had been compensated equates to deceptive advertising and would be prosecuted as such.”
Even-though the FTC may begin to crack down on the practice of fake reviews, some reputation management companies, will taking a different approach, by using tactics such as requesting the host site to remove or face legal repercussions. On going discussions at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2012, also expect a market of companies specializing in reputations defense versus reputation creation.
At this time, Garner believes that the consumers trust with social media is low, and will likely increase with a perception of better government regulation and increased media exposure of fake social media and reviews.
“Organizations engaging in social media can help to promote trust by openly embracing both positive and negative reviews and leveraging negative reviews as a way to encourage customers with positive product or service experiences to share them on review sites as well,”
More of the original press release can be found at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=2161315
Ever wish you could find a 'dislike' tag for one of the social media sites.?