What makes a review verified? And why it matters

Whether a review is verified or not depends on where it’s coming from.

By their nature, verified reviews are from confirmed customers. People have posted them to help others know whether to spend their money on a product or service or to let a company know what they think. Unverified reviews, on the other hand, could come from anyone. They can be fake and designed to mislead. They may have been posted to get people to trust and use a company/brand. That’s why it’s important to know if a review is verified or unverified.

A true, verified review is one that’s from someone who’s had a proven experience with the company or product they’re reviewing.

An unverified review comes from someone who may have had an experience with a company or product. But they haven’t, can’t, or won’t prove it.

Which would you trust the most? And where can you go to make sure you only read verified reviews?

The answer to the first of those questions is fairly subjective. Even though you don’t know if someone has actually tried a product or service, they may persuade you to trust them through their clever rhetoric.

When it comes to the second question, things are clearer cut. Verified reviews come from confirmed customers. So if you’re reading a review on an invite-only platform, like ours - where only real customers can post their views - you know it’s a 100% verified review. However, if you’re looking at an open-review site such as Trustpilot, where anyone can say what they want, you can’t be certain it’s really true.

With 96% of people reading or using reviews in some way (Source: Feefo Consumer Report 2019) it’s important to know the pluses and minuses of invite-only, verified review sites and open, unverified review platforms. So, let’s look a little deeper into some of the significant differences between them.

Fake reviews

With invite-only platforms, no one can leave fake reviews. They’ll give you their honest opinions though. Open-review platforms, however, are much easier to leave untrue opinions on. This means a business could have its reputation damaged easily by someone leaving a fake review – see our Where do fake reviews come from? blog to find out who leaves fake reviews and why. Having fake reviews about your business removed can take a lot of time and hard work too

Trust

If you’re a business, you know you can trust and act on the insights you get on invite-only platforms. And it’s worth noting that 50% of consumers are more likely to trust a brand if reviews are authenticated by a company like Feefo (Source: Feefo Consumer Report 2019). The opposite is true for open-review sites.

Number of reviews

Open platforms will often have a greater number of reviews on them compared to invite-only review sites. Whether you’re a business or a consumer, you need to ask yourself what’s more important though. Quantity or quality? Doubt over certainty?

Getting extra feedback

If you’ve invited someone to let you know what they think of you, they’ll probably be more receptive to your going back to them and asking more. For example, why they have left the review they have or questions about your business in general. With open platforms that can be a lot more difficult or even impossible.

Invite-only reviews are easier for customers

With invite-only review sites, customers don’t have to go to the bother of creating a profile or logging into an account. All they have to do is leave their views and press ‘Send’.

Just to be fair, we’re not saying at all that every unverified review on open sites is a fake. They’re not. Some of these sites are ‘cleaning up their act’ and now include ways people can show they’ve based their reviews on real experiences. For example, submitting proof of their purchase or user-generated content. But there are already reports of unscrupulous businesses finding ways to manipulate even these verification methods.

If you want to find ways to tell the difference between real reviews and those trying to trick you, take a look at our How to spot a fake review article.


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