Not many would consider buying a product, service, app or even watch a movie without referring to expert/consumer reviews. Our lives are dependent on online reviews, at least most of us would agree. It simply means gauging from the experience of people who have been there, done that. But, what if these reviews are a part of a foul-play, wherein a product seller or app developer is adding reviews to popularise his or her product.
Google has now announced some major improvement in the backend that will help identify fake reviews. It has basically improved the ways in which it identifies and removes fake reviews and ratings. Now, it can identify as well as remove more fake reviews and ratings with greater accuracy, Google claims.
Google wants app developers to promote their apps, but using legitimate promotion practices. So, the thumb rule is simple – reviews should come from genuine users, and developers cannot use techniques to manipulate it.
It is in line with the announcement on 31 October. "From time to time, we observe instances of developers attempting to manipulate the placement of their apps through illegitimate means like fraudulent installs, fake reviews, and incentivised ratings. These attempts not only violate the Google Play Developer Policy, but also harm our community of developers by hindering their chances of being discovered or recommended through our systems. Ultimately, they put the end users at risk of making wrong decisions based on inaccurate, unauthentic information," Google had said.
This isn't something new. In October 2015, Amazon sued over 1000 people for writing fake reviews. The lawsuit emphasised on how the false reviews damaged brand reputation and were inauthentic. Amazon said there were 1,114 defendants, termed “John Does” offering false review service for as little as $5 (£3.24) on the website Fiverr.com, with most promising five-star reviews for a seller’s products. It should be noted that Amazon sued the people, and not Fiverr.
In May 2014, Italy’s anti-trust board had fined TripAdvisor $600,000 over failure to stop fake reviews. TripAdvisor argued how it has process in place to detect fraudsters and also automated tools and algorithms that work against people trying to cheat the system. The extent at which we rely on online reviews, duping people into paying for something by calling it the best is nothing but a scam.