Remember those days when we used to look for a business in Yellow Pages? I mean the enormous yellow book with pages almost as thin as air and countless contact information for anything you needed. Well, those days are long gone, and I believe it’s safe to say that the “book” form of it is as dead as dinosaurs.
Living in the digital era has forced businesses to adapt and change their advertising strategies, especially because today’s consumers search online before they do anything else. Unfortunately, there are so many ways for a business to spend its money in the online environment that makes it hard sometimes to recognize a rip-off or a bad ROI in desperate need of a fresh start.
According to surveys from organizations like “Bright Local” and “Nielsen’s”, 90% of consumers say that online reviews are the number one factor when choosing a business and over 70% say they trust reviews as much, or even more than a referral from a close friend or a relative. However, research has shown that 30-40% of online reviews are false, fueling the “anonymous” online reviews industry.
When confronted with these strong numbers, it’s hard to understand why businesses still choose to invest in old world ads, online or print like newspapers, Google ads or Yellow Pages. The same surveys showed that only 7-13% of consumers even notice these ads, and even then, they still check online reviews to form an opinion about the business.
TruWeb Verified believes third party verified reviews will solve the problem. “the only way the consumer can know if reviews are real or fake is third party verification” stated Mark Joseph of TruWeb Verified. “That why we created TruWeb Verified.”.
TruWeb Verified is an organization focused on defending both the consumer and businesses from fraudulent reviews. Fake reviews have become an industry unto themselves. TruWeb’s sole purpose is to shed some light on this growing problem by providing an honest broker between consumers and businesses who both need a central 3rd party verification source for reviews.
Once a business’s gets their reviews third party verified through a group like a TruWeb Verified they begin to show up on subscribing consumer reviews sites, like “Savage Consumer” or “BuyersBest Reviews”. These sites are consumer oriented and only publish 3rd party verified reviews.
Whether we’re talking about a small business or a big company, investing money in for profit consumer review sites like Yellow Pages or Yelp in not always the best way to go. These sites have some filters but no where near enough to hold back fake reviews. Typically they do not check the legitimacy of the reviews but rather adjust the order or visibility of the better reviews. That misleads the consumer and holds the business hostage to the review site. What it does not lead to is making sure that reviews are honest and verified.
According to the BrightLocal 2015 survey 92% of consumers now read online reviews (as opposed to 88% in 2014) when trying to choose a product, professional or business. Survey after survey show similar numbers. Business’s that want to survive and even thrive need a marketing strategy to deal with online reviews.
According to BrightLocal’s study, 70% of consumers trusts online reviews equal to that of a close friend or family member. The same survey says that 87% of potential customers won’t even consider a business with low rating and 40% of them will form an opinion by reading one to three reviews, versus 29% in 2014.
So the real question is what are you going to do if your business’s online image is at risk of getting destroyed by online reviews? What you should have done in the first place: invest in collecting third party verified reviews that will build up your online image and drive more customers your way.