Study: Fake social media ratings, reviews to reach 10-15% by 2014

Are social media rating and reviews trustworthy?

According to a new study by Gertner, buying Facebook Likes or Twitter followers is becoming more and more accepted, and fake ratings and reviews could reach 10 to 15 percent by 2014.

Based on the findings of the study “The Consequences of Fake Fans, ‘Likes’ and Reviews on Social Networks”, trust in social media is still low, but could increase from single digits to up to 33 percent by 2014, CMSWire reported.

The study found people are more likely trust those most like them, as well as those they personally know in real life. However, they also trust websites which have a lot of reviews.

Another online survey by conducted in May 2012 found that companies that have 50 reviews or more get an about 5 percent increase in conversions. Moreover, 31 percent of users said they use reviews to help them make a purchase. Undoubtedly, these all lead to rises of the companies, such as SocialJump, which charge US$ 75 for a thousand Facebook likes. 

Some actions have been taken to regulate these practices. In 2011, Legacy Learning Systems was fined US$ 250,000 by FTC for hiring marketers to post fake reviews online.

FTC also investigated Ann Taylor for the retailer is suspected to give out gift cards in exchange for favorable blog reviews, but no economic sanctions were filed.

“Any short term gains could nullified in the long run if the public finds out about the inflated numbers and starts viewing those companies as untrustworthy,” Gertner said.

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