4 out of 5: Fake reviews are everywhere. Are govt guidelines the fix?

4 out of 5: Fake reviews are everywhere. Are govt guidelines the fix?

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Soumya Gupta

35 reads
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Soumya Gupta

35 reads

The ministry of consumer affairs has unveiled new guidelines to combat phoney reviews on ecommerce and other platforms. Though a step in the right direction, is it enough to halt a trend that’s a global headache? Also, what tactics do brands, sellers and marketers adopt? Here’s the lowdown

November 29, 2022

7 MINS READ

No one is sure how it came to this, but first product impressions shared online have acquired an outsized status in the digital economy. So much so that reviews and ratings, whether genuine or paid reactions, can decide a brand’s fortunes.

A whole ecosystem of obscure agencies works with internet posters (almost anyone) to tilt shoppers’ sentiment favourably or negatively towards an offering. And this is an open secret.

The practice is thriving in India, where new online businesses are competing to stand out, and the world over. A study revealed that fake reviews influenced $152 billion in spending globally last year; essentially, they led to subpar choices. That’s a conservative estimate.

The main issue, of eroding market fairness, is big enough for regulators to intervene with some urgency. Last week, on November 21, the consumer affairs ministry and the Bureau of Indian Standards declared fresh guidelines to verify and moderate online reviews, replacing an older set.

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