Today, the Victoria Derbyshire programme on the BBC featured a segment on fraudulent reviews following the publication of the Competitions and Market Authority report on the online reviews industry - you can see our summary here.
U.K. VP of Trustpilot, James Westlake, participated in the discussion along with the online shop Little Sunflowers and an industry expert from Kwik Chex.
At Trustpilot we always welcome the opportunity to talk about how we tackle fraudulent behaviour on our platform, and would therefore like to take this opportunity to outline our approach.
Firstly, we work closely with Trading Standards and we report instances of misuse on our platform. Secondly, we regularly assist Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in their efforts to investigate and improve the online review industry wherever we can.
This correlates with our zero tolerance policy towards fraudulent reviews. We invest significantly in this area, and our 30 strong Compliance Team works diligently to stay ahead of the attempts to game the system, identifying and mitigating unlawful practices.
How Trustpilot deals with fraudulent reviews:
Trustpilot uses customised advanced detection software to identify fraudulent reviews on our platform.
To support the software, we have a 30 strong Compliance Team which is growing year on year. Every month our team investigates more than 18,000 reviews combined.
Trustpilot has a flagging option, which enables both consumers and businesses to flag reviews should they not comply with our business or user guidelines. From here, our Compliance Team then assesses each flagged review. We greatly appreciate all the feedback we get from our community, and this is a key part of combating fabricated reviews.
Trustpilot has a Whistle Blower function. This means that anyone who notices fraudulent behaviour on our platform can contact us directly for further assessment.
Trustpilot also posts consumer alerts on company profiles where we have identified substantial fraudulent behaviour.
We systematically monitor advertisements from solicitors of fabricated reviews and report them to the site-host to make sure they are removed.
Finally, Trustpilot terminates contracts with companies who continuously do not comply with our guidelines and block users from our community.
It is absolutely vital for Trustpilot and the industry as a whole, that consumers can trust online reviews. Our mission is to create a transparent environment for businesses and consumers to connect with each other. We therefore take fabricated reviews very seriously, and will continue to invest in this important area.
Finally, we also wish to put the situation into context: Over 500,000 reviews are posted on our website each month. Further to this, the CMA report confirms our firm belief that the vast majority of online reviews are genuine and valuable for both consumers and businesses.