Wednesday 16 February 2022

Trustpilot sues a business for posting fake reviews

The last time Trustpilot took action against a business it was for the business in question suing - successfully - a Trustpilot reviewer/customer (there's an excellent article by a qualified solictor here and our own analysis of the action and impact here). Trustpilot suspended law firm Summerfield Browne's listing in February last year and it remains suspended as we write; no more reviews, frozen in time, but still appearing on Trustpilot's website, over a year later

And goodness knows how many times that 1* review has been seen since (it's obviously written by the person in the lawsuit); it's been voted 'useful' 145 times - and we use a 1:20 rule of thumb - if one person votes for a review, you can be sure at least another 19 have read it, so that makes another 2,755 people who were looking for a solicitor who may well have been put off contacting the firm by this review).

We're not sure how fair this is, on the law firm or on consumers. 

But back to the latest case. here's what the business's Trustpilot listing looks like today:

We have some questions for Trustpilot:

  1. How did they identify the fake reviews?
  2. How did they decide which reviews to delete and which should remain?
  3. Why have they not suspended the business's account in the same way as they have suspended Summerfield Browne's?
  4. How do they propose to prove that the business is 'soliciting fake reviews'?
That answer to that last question will be interesting. We often see what we suspect to be fake reviews, all over the web, but 'suspecting' and 'proving in a court of law' are vastly different matters.

We will be following this story closely. And we'll report to you when we har anything more. Meanwhile, our advice to you all remains the same: focus on Google, get Google reviews compliantly (don't cherry-pick or gate) and build your reputation there, where all your potential customers are looking, not on review sites.

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