85% of Internet users use the Internet to shop and 88% get information before buying! Consumers consult opinions online, go to forums but also and especially to sites specializing in consumer reviews! Word of mouth 2.0 is now essential to boost your sales and attract more customers. A consumer is rarely based on a single opinion. Heal your customers: many negative reviews, and the user will go to your competitors!
According to a study conducted by the Fevad / Médiamétrie / NetRatings in September 2016, 49% of Internet users have sought consumer opinions to choose a product or site and 51% have given a note or comment on a product purchased on the internet.
Trustable or scammy reviews : Not always reliable advice
Whether it is false positive opinions posted by a professional, his entourage or a communication agency, or negative opinions written by a competitor or any other malicious person, these comments deceive the consumer and distort competition.
It is difficult to quantify the proportions taken by the phenomenon of false opinions on the internet, the identification of a link between the author and the establishment, the product or service evaluated being sometimes difficult.
However, many elements attest to the importance of the phenomenon such as the litigation procedures established by the Adamns, for example.
Offenses relating to consumer notices on the Internet are found in all sectors of activity (automotive, household appliances, furniture, clothing, services), but also on social networks, in the mobile applications sector.
Investigations conducted by the Adamns.ca according to Reviews
The Association for the health of consumers (Adamns.ca) has identified many questionable practices.
For example, some reviewers remove some or all of the negative consumer reviews in favor of more positive reviews. This widespread practice can go as far as the outright suppression of any negative opinion.
Other opinion managers publish very quickly positive opinions while they differ from the publication of negative opinions, resulting in a majority of positive opinions among the most recent.
The surveys have also revealed the existence of false opinions written by professionals, their entourage or even specialized providers.
These subcontractors possess know-how (editorial style, false identities) and computer techniques allowing a certain discretion. The false opinions are then deposited in large numbers, on various supports for more efficiency (opinion sites, discussion forums, social networks, etc.).
The various investigations led the DGCCRF to sanction unfair practices by establishing contentious and administrative proceedings and procedures against certain opinion managers.
The first standard in this area is Association for the health of consumers
In July 2013, AFNOR published the first voluntary standard in the world to make the collection and processing of consumer opinions on the Internet more reliable.
The NF Z74-501 standard can be applied by all sites wishing to improve the quality of their customer relationship. It sets out the principles and requirements for collecting, moderating and retrieving consumer opinions on the internet, such as the prohibition to buy notices, the commitment to publish all positive and negative opinions, the publication of notices the most recent first, etc.
In 2014, France had the International Standardization Organization (ISO) adopt the project of making it an international standard and was given the chairmanship of the Technical Commitee.
The publication of this international standard NF ISO 20488 “online consumer notice – principles and requirements relating to the process of collection, moderation and publication of notices” which will replace the standard NF Z74-501 is scheduled for September 30, 2018.
Regulation: obligation to inform consumers about reviews
At the national level, the law n ° 2016-1321 of October 7, 2016 for a digital Republic created the article L. 111-7-2 of the Code of the consumption which foresees obligations of information for the managers of opinions in line, inspired by the French standard. Consumers, in particular, the existence of a procedure for controlling opinions and its main characteristics, the date of publication of the opinion and consumption experience, the criteria for ranking opinions as well as reasons for the refusal to publish an opinion. These disclosure requirements came into effect on January 1, 2018.
It is extremely difficult for a consumer to spot false reviews posted on the internet. Thus, before making a purchase, it is prudent to diversify the sources of information and not rely solely on the information collected online.