Online Giants Team Up to Fight Fake Reviews

John Lister's picture

Major websites are joining together to fight fake online reviews. The "global Coalition for Trusted Reviews" will share information and best practices to "stop fake reviews at the source."

The partnership follows a conference last year that included business, government and academic experts. The idea now is for businesses to work together rather than rely on legislation.

The BBC cites a recent report suggesting 15 percent of reviews of common consumer products are likely fake. It also notes that both the United States and United Kingdom are considering laws targeting fake reviews. However, these could be difficult to enforce even they are passed. (Source:

The businesses involved in the partnership cover a range of industries including retailer Amazon; travel sites, Expedia and Tripadvisor; business review company Trustpilot; and Glassdoor, which lets employees rate their experience with employers.

Common Definitions

The initial collaboration involves four steps. The first is to develop common terms and definitions for what exactly counts as a fake review, along with other terms used in content moderation. That may make it easier to develop policies and proposals that all parties can agree.

Next, the companies will develop and share a set of "best practices" for companies that host online reviews, including moderating content and detecting fake reviews.

The companies will also share intelligence on tactics used by fraudsters. This includes specialist services to create and post fake reviews on behalf of businesses. Tripadvisor noted many of these services operate in countries which have little or no ability or interest in stopping such fraudulent activity. (Source:

Promotional Drive

Finally, the businesses will work together to speak on behalf of the online industry, promote the benefits of legitimate online reviews, and gather more attention for efforts to combat the fake reviews.

One key to the partnership is that the companies involved have different incentives. For example, in the short term Amazon makes money when customers buy products after being influenced by a fake review. In their case, the negative effect is a corrosive, long-term one with customers losing trust about buying from the site.

Contrastingly, the usefulness of reviews is the core purpose of sites like Trustpilot and Glassdoor, so fake reviews significantly undermine their entire appeal.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you trust retailers to weed out fake reviews? How much weight do you put on customer reviews before buying online? Do you think you can tell if a review is genuine?

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Average: 5 (4 votes)


buzzallnight's picture

The bad reviews are the real ones.

beach.boui's picture

I'm glad they are finally doing something significant about the fake reviews. Criminal penalties should be imposed. It's long overdue.

sound_16978's picture

If the online retailers are serious about fake reviews, they should be serious about fake product description and counterfeit products. flashlights that lie about output lumen's. generic battery's the lie about capacity. Flash drives that lie and conceal there true capacity. the list goes on and on. Do they care? i don't think so or this would not still be happening.