I suspect the investigating need look no further than checking the IP in their logs!
Following our look yesterday at some highly-suspect online reviews for iFlorist, Trustpilot has pruned a bunch of the offending tributes and is investigating the matter. To recap, iFlorist was rated by many reviewers as pretty much the greatest website ever to grace the internet, which led us to question the authenticity of …
that gef05 was, like a few other posters, a genuine "normal" (as far as the term can be used) Reg reader making a funny. Don't think I was alone, as it has a couple upvotes and no downvotes (at the time of writing). I didn't think it was possible for such a post to be written seriously.
Oops. Guess I'm once again guilty of rating users of the interwebs a little too highly.
I hadn't come across Trustpilot until I read the REg article, though I've used similar websites. And commercial spiking of reviews is nothing new - website moderators simply have to be on the ball.
I had a wander through their site out of curiosity, and I have to say I found little to be confident about. Far more firms than iFlorist seem to have suspiciously huge outpourings of 5/5 - the reviews often from people with little or no previous posting record, and often clumped within a time-scale too tight to be coincidence.
Whatever iFlorist's sins in this matter, I reckon Trustpilot themselves need to get their act together if they want people to take them seriously. So 0/5 for iFlorist, and - until they sort themselves out - 2/5 at best for Trustpilot. Neither are in my bookmarks.
This is the internet review/reputation version of "whack-a-mole." Now that you've fixed this one site, who will be the next?
In reviewing Google reviews of restaurants, I don't think that I have come across a restaurant around that has less than 4 stars. Although I take it back, there was one hilarious vindictive review posted for a local restaurant (Mario Trattoria, Arlington Heights). (http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=16369688398627765653&hl=en&view=feature&mcsrc=detailed_reviews&num=10&start=0&ved=0CDIQtQU&ei=7gyyS_LeG5ewMsynkIUP&ie=UTF8&ll=42.083872,-87.984556&spn=0,0&z=18&iwloc=lyrftr:lmq:1001:restaurant,16369688398627765653,42.082522,-87.982941)
Probably not the first, nor the last time that the general public gets pulled into the middle of an Italian family's fight.
Indeed, it is kind of like whacking moles in that game.
However I'd say its closer to whack-a-mole where you only get an inflatable novelty hammer.
You see, TrustPilot, I'm sure, isn't the only site hosting criminally fake reviews.
Others would probably do the standard Google thing and find other sites such as ReviewCentre.com, GiveMeAReview.com, TrustedReviews.com or even those terrible NexTag, or Ciao sites. I haven't checked these for iFlorist but I'm sure iFlorist are filling some of these with fake positives too!
In fact I too never heard of TrustPilot prior to reading this story either.
If it weren't for the saving grace that El-Reg turns up as the third real result down in Google for iFlorist with Lesters exposé, very few would have actually bothered to check the reviews on TrustPilot!
On the other hand, however, this is the summary text from the El-Reg Google Result - "To recap, iFlorist was rated by many reviewers as pretty much the greatest website ever to grace the internet, which led us to question the ..."
I'm sure plenty of unexperienced Intarnet goers would look at the first few segments and conclude that iFlorists were perfect!
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