'Fake' online reviews deter suspicious shoppers

A new study from PR firm Burson-Marsteller says frequent online shoppers are becoming skeptical of reviews found on shopping sites, reports Brandweek.

Burson surveyed 1,000 online shoppers and found that wariness is setting in regarding the origins of reviews.

30 percent of respondents felt that fake reviews were now a big problem, up from 20 percent who thought it was a problem in 2001.

57 percent say reviews perceived as "fake" influence their decision to buy.

The report recommends that if a company gets involved in the consumer conversation, they must be open and transparent about who they are and what they're doing.

15 percent of users surveyed were identified by Burson as "e-fluentials" — those that influence their social circles greatly. People in this group are motivated by the desire to help those they communicate with.

MarketingCharts offers a host of findings from the study, including the following charts:

1. e-fluentials' awareness of commercial activity on consumer websites

2. Actions e-fluentials take when they suspect "fake" posts

3. e-fluentials' number and types of contacts with others

4. Motivations of e-fluentials for spreading the word

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