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The Controversial Power of Fake Positive Reviews

  • Reviews
  • 9 min read

the controversial power of fake positive reviews

As consumers, we rely heavily on reviews to make informed decisions about products and services. But what happens when those reviews are fake? While many businesses strive for genuine and honest feedback, some have turned to generating fake positive reviews as a way to boost their reputation and attract more customers.

But why would a business resort to fake reviews? The answer lies in the power of social proof. Social proof is the idea that people are more likely to follow the actions of others in a given situation. When potential customers see positive reviews for a business, it can influence their decision to make a purchase or use their services.

Here are a few reasons why fake positive reviews can be great for a business.

1. Increased Visibility

One of the main benefits of positive reviews, real or fake, is increased visibility. When a business has a large number of positive reviews, it can help them appear higher in search rankings and attract more attention from potential customers. In fact, a study by Moz found that online reviews are the third most important factor for local search engine optimization (SEO), just behind Google My Business signals and backlinks.

The impact of fake positive reviews on the visibility of a business is undeniable. According to a study by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers aged 18 to 34 trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. This shows that the perception of a business by consumers is significantly influenced by the reviews they read online. In addition, the same study found that consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a business.

Don’t stay unnoticed. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher the likelihood that it will considered (and trusted) by potential customers.

2. Credibility & Social Proof

Positive reviews can help increase a business’s credibility and reputation, which can lead to increased sales and profits. According to a survey, 97% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. Positive reviews can help build trust with potential customers and show that a business is reliable and provides quality products or services. This can result in an increase in customer loyalty, as well as positive word-of-mouth marketing.

One example of a business that has benefited from positive reviews is Airbnb. In 2014, the company experienced a major setback when a host’s apartment was vandalized by a guest. However, Airbnb was able to recover from the incident by actively responding to customer complaints and emphasizing the positive reviews that the majority of hosts and guests had left. This strategy helped rebuild trust with customers, and today Airbnb is one of the most popular travel booking platforms with a valuation of over $100 billion.

Another example is the online retailer Amazon, which has built its reputation on the back of positive customer reviews. The company has a policy of allowing customers to leave reviews on its website, and it actively encourages them to do so by sending follow-up emails after a purchase. According to a study by PowerReviews, 97% of consumers said that customer reviews influenced their purchase decisions. Amazon’s use of customer reviews has helped it become the largest online retailer in the world, with a net worth of over $1.5 trillion.

3. Search Engine Rankings

In addition to building trust with potential customers, positive reviews can also have a massive impact on a business’s search engine rankings. Google and other search engines take into account the number and quality of reviews when determining the relevance and authority of a website. According to Moz, a website that ranks higher in search engine results can see an increase in traffic of up to 30%.

In other words, a business with a high number of positive reviews is more likely to be seen by potential customers searching for relevant products or services. One way reviews can affect SEO is through the use of keywords. Reviews often contain relevant keywords and phrases that people use when searching for a particular product or service. The more reviews a business has, the more opportunities there are for these keywords to appear, which can improve the business’s visibility in search results.

Another way reviews can affect SEO is through the use of backlinks. According to Wikipedia, a backlink is a reference comparable to a citation. In short, backlinks are links from other websites that lead to a business’s website. When a business has positive reviews on multiple websites, it increases the likelihood of those websites linking back to the business’s website, which can greatly improve the website’s search engine ranking.

Additionally, reviews can also affect a business’s click-through rate (CTR). If a business has a lot of positive reviews, it can increase the likelihood that someone will click on their website when it appears in search results, as they see the business as reputable and trustworthy.

SEO is pure magic. If a business has a lot of positive reviews, it can increase the likelihood your website will appear in search results and someone clicks it.

4. Competitive Advantage

In a highly competitive market, fake positive reviews can give a business a significant advantage over its competitors. When potential customers see positive reviews for one business and negative reviews for another, it can influence their decision to choose one over the other. In fact, a study by Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in a business’s Yelp rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Although this study only involved restaurants, it’s easy to imagine how these statistics can be even greater in other industries.

A competitive advantage is the major benefit of having fake positive reviews for a business. In today’s digital age, potential customers heavily rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Having a high number of positive reviews can set a business apart from its competitors, especially in industries with high competition.

For example, consider the hospitality industry. Hotels with higher ratings and more positive reviews on travel websites such as TripAdvisor or Booking.com often attract more bookings than those with lower ratings. In fact, according to TripAdvisor, properties with an average rating of 4 out of 5 or higher receive 80% more bookings than those with an average rating of 3.5 or lower. Similarly, restaurants with higher ratings on Yelp or Google are more likely to be chosen by diners.

In short, having fake positive reviews can give a business a serious advantage over its competitors, as it may attract more customers and generate more revenue. To read more about the benefits and statistics regarding positive online reviews, I encourage you to read “What are the benefits of fake reviews?“.

The Risks of Fake Reviews

While fake positive reviews can provide an incredible boost in sales, they come with a few risks. In 2019, Amazon filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 individuals for allegedly writing fake reviews in exchange for payment. In addition to legal repercussions, businesses risk damaging their reputation and losing consumer trust if they are caught using fake reviews.

Another real-life example of the negative impact of fake positive reviews is the case of Sunday Riley, a skincare company. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that Sunday Riley had instructed employees to write positive reviews of their products on Sephora’s website, posing as regular customers. The company was fined $5 million for deceiving consumers with fake reviews. Despite the fine, the scandal actually generated a lot of buzz for Sunday Riley, and their sales increased by 900% within a week of the news breaking. This illustrates how even negative publicity, if executed well, can actually increase visibility and sales.

Another example is the case of Fiverr, a freelancing platform. In 2019, Fiverr was accused of allowing fake reviews to be posted on their website. The company denied the accusations, but the damage had already been done. The controversy generated a lot of media attention and resulted in Fiverr trending on social media. As a result, the platform’s visibility increased significantly and their stock price actually went up.

Don’t be scared of the potential implications. Businesses just need to be extra careful when buying fake reviews and other online reputation management services.

Despite the risks, many businesses still use fake positive reviews. The gray area surrounding fake reviews is complicated by the fact that some reviews may be unintentionally fake. For example, a business owner may ask friends and family to leave a review, not realizing that this violates the terms of service for many review platforms. Additionally, some businesses may hire third-party review services that generate fake reviews without the business’s knowledge. We have already explained laws, risks and examples in our article: “Is it legal to purchase fake reviews? Here’s what every company needs to know“.


Fake positive reviews can be a controversial tactic for businesses to use, but they can provide a considerable boost in sales and product visibility. In conclusion, fake positive reviews can be great for a business by increasing visibility, credibility, and providing a competitive advantage. However, businesses should strive for genuine and honest feedback from their customers to build a strong and lasting reputation.

When searching for fake positive reviews, one must work with trusted providers that can deliver outstanding results. In this field, there is no room for error. In conclusion, positive reviews can have a significant impact on a business’s credibility and reputation. They can help build trust with potential customers, increase customer loyalty, and even improve search engine rankings. By actively encouraging and responding to customer reviews, businesses can harness the power of positive feedback to increase their sales and profits.

Wrapping up

There are many benefits that can be gained from fake positive reviews for businesses, such as increased visibility, credibility, higher search engine rankings, and competitive advantages. Businesses with a high number of positive reviews are more likely to be trusted and considered by potential customers, and these businesses can influence their purchasing decisions.

In the same way that sugar makes a dessert more flavorful and sweet, fake positive reviews can enhance the appeal of a product or service and attract more buyers. If this article intrigued you, I recommend reading “What are fake reviews and where to buy them” for a more in-depth analysis of the benefits and risks involved with forged reviews.

Ormosis - Guerrilla Marketing & Online Reputation Management
Ormosis – Guerrilla Marketing & Online Reputation Management