It sure seems that whenever there is a technological breakthrough or Internet-related trend, a cottage industry arises designed to improperly take advantage of the new advancement.
Case in point ...
"Group spam reviews."
It's clear one of the hottest shopping trends is online consumer reviews. A high percentage of consumers are trusting and relying on a number of online review sites for valuable input on products and services. Online reviews have become a very useful marketing tool. For review sites to continue to carry significant weight, they must be as untarnished as possible. However, one recent trend could impair the long-term effectiveness of review sites: group fake reviews.
These phony reviews are very difficult to detect. The International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IWWWCC) has produced a white paper designed to help shed some light on the problem.
The IWWWCC paper defines "group spamming" as "a group of reviewers writing fake reviews together to promote or to demote some target products."
According to the IWWWCC, there are four characteristics of group spamming. The more of these characteristics that exist, the greater likelihood the reviews are suspicious.
- a common product received several reviews; all with the same rating;
- the reviews occurred within a narrow time frame;
- the reviewers all selected the same specific product(s);
- the questionable reviewers are usually the first ones to write about a product.
To further complicate the process of weeding out the bad apples, the phony reviews can come from either one person with numerous IDs or a wide variety of people.
It is encouraging to see groups such as the IWWWCC tackling these types issues that could have a harmful affect on Internet marketing.
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