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Research reveals consumer perceptions on the trustworthiness of product reviews and how companies can help preserve their authenticity
AUSTIN, Texas - Bazaarvoice, Inc. (Nasdaq: BV), the network connecting brands and retailers to the authentic voices of consumers wherever they shop, today announced the availability of the Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark. The first-of-its-kind mark proactively identifies consumer reviews that comply with Bazaarvoice’s Authenticity Policy in an effort to help ensure they are genuine, unbiased, and transparent. Clients who display the Authentic Reviews Trust Mark indicate their dedication to authentic consumer feedback and signal to consumers that the review content on their pages is safeguarded by sophisticated anti-fraud technology and industry-leading best practices.
While consumers continue to place a high value on user reviews, doubts persist regarding the integrity of review content, regardless of the type of website where it is displayed. The company surveyed 3,000 adult consumers across the United States and United Kingdom in November 2013. Seventy-one percent of U.S. respondents and 70 percent in the UK said that they read consumer reviews before making a purchase decision—more than any other content type considered. However, 48 and 50 percent of respondents in the U.S. and UK, respectively, believe one or more of the reviews they read online is fake. Similarly, more than half of all respondents stated that they believe companies remove negative reviews.
The survey’s respondents also clearly indicated the steps companies can take to reduce doubts regarding the authenticity of reviews. For example,
• More than 80 percent of respondents in both the U.S. and U.K. state that they would feel more trusting of reviews if they know the reviews were screened for fraud, moderated, and displayed by a neutral, credible third party.
• 55 percent of US respondents and 45 percent in the UK also say they are more trusting of reviews that have passed through a technology filter and human analysis. Fewer than 15 percent of all respondents say a technology filter alone is sufficient.
In addition, respondents say they would be more trusting of reviews if they know specific actions are taken to protect reviews from a variety of fraudulent and inauthentic practices:
• Free from fraud and spam: 50 percent of US respondents and 49 percent of those in the UK say they would be more trusting of reviews if they know fraud detection technology is used to identify the submission source of all reviews.
• Free from edits, classification, and alteration: More than half of all respondents in the US and UK would be more trusting of reviews if they know practices are in place to ensure reviews are not altered in any way by anyone other than the original author. In addition, 46 and 47 percent of US and UK respondents, respectively, want to know that reviews are not filtered, edited or deleted because they are negative or are lower rated.
• Transparent: More than one-third of respondents in the US and UK would be more trusting of reviews if they know policies exist to prevent a brand or retailer from directly asking for positive reviews, or to disclose that a consumer was offered an incentive, such as a sample or discount, in exchange for providing an unbiased review.
The Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark comprehensively addresses these consumer-identified concerns and solutions. The inclusion of the distinctive “b:” logo clearly indicates that reviews are managed by a third party, as opposed to the brand or retailer. A mouse-over text box informs the user that the reviews displayed on the page—in aggregate—“comply with the Bazaarvoice Authenticity Policy, which is supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis.” Together, the Authenticity Policy and the processes that support it help Bazaarvoice to prevent the display of a wide variety of fraudulent content, such as commercial messages, automated submissions, degrading content from a competitor or self-promotion, as well as inauthentic behavior such as editing and “cherry-picking” reviews or posting reviews without proper disclosures when required.
The Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark is available immediately for clients in North America and will be available in the U.K. in the first calendar quarter of 2014. The Authentic Reviews Trust Mark will be available to clients in additional countries throughout 2014. Additional information regarding the Authentic Reviews Trust Mark is available at bazaarvoice.com/trustmark and bazaarvoice.com/authenticity.
Comments on the News
Lisa Pearson, chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice:
“Reviews are a proxy for a live experience that can’t otherwise be replicated online, and that means they must be authentic to be useful. The Authentic Reviews Trust Mark is a signpost that helps people understand that the content they are reading is real. Trust remains one of the few constants that inspire people to openly share their experiences, which is why we have worked hard to create a system that helps to safeguard trust between companies and consumers.”
Kristin Ganong, vice president of digital marketing at Samsung Electronics North America
“Earning consumer confidence and trust in everything we do is of the utmost importance to us at Samsung. That’s why we’re excited to be among the very first companies that can assure consumers through the Bazaarvoice Authentic Reviews Trust Mark, a system that has been designed to guarantee the authenticity of consumer reviews, that all reviews on Samsung.com are the genuine voice of our consumers.”
Bazaarvoice is a network that connects brands and retailers to the authentic voices of people where they shop. Each month, more than 400 million people view and share authentic opinions, questions and experiences about tens of millions of products in the Bazaarvoice network. The company’s technology platform amplifies these voices into the places that influence purchase decisions. Network analytics help marketers and advertisers provide more engaging experiences that drive brand awareness, consideration, sales and loyalty. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit www.bazaarvoice.com, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bazaarvoice.
Published on: 11:05AM on 17th December 2013