by: Chris Emmins - KwikChex.com
Consumers are being advised to check a website or business reputation by typing into search browsers the business / domain name followed by words such as 'complaints' or 'scams'.
Research carried out by a new online reassurance resource, KwikChex.com, shows that the results leave much to be desired.
The top results often feature websites such as complaints.com and numerous other ''review' based sites. Search such resources for eminent and reputable companies such as Microsoft and you find postings with titles such as:
'Microsoft Using Virus to Destroy Users Data' and 'Microsoft's Customer Service is nonexistant' (sic)
Go even to a leading website checking service such as McAfee Site Advisor, and in spite of the green safe rating, you will see reviews that accuse the company of scams, phishing, distributing spyware and viruses, browser exploitation and plain old 'bad customer experience.
Searches carried out by KwikChex on 500 well known businesses (including the web sentinels such as McAfee themselves) indicated that reputable and safe websites are subjected to an ever growing number of online assaults of this nature - and aside from the potential damage to their reputation and sales, the end result of this growing activity is consumer confusion - who can be trusted?
Good Reviews / Bad Reviews
On checking 20 prominent review sites, which are meant to reflect the views of customers, the situation was in many ways even worse. Good reviews can be posted by rogue businesses themselves and bad ones by competitors or disgruntled employees - only the number of reviews either way swings the overall rating and this is all too easily manipulated.
So whilst consumers are directed to checking in this way, they are usually viewing information that is completely unverified - taking notice of a good rating can lead an unwary consumer into trouble and giving validity to a bad rating can mean that a consumer loses out on a genuinely good deal and a reputable business a sale.