Trustpilot, a self-proclaimed review platform open to all, presents itself as a shining beacon in the chaotic world of e-commerce, with the aim of guiding consumers towards a safe purchase. Although the idea may seem commendable at first sight, its practical implementation raises some problems.
Trustpilot allows anyone to comment on their experience with a company. Although the democratization of opinion is a tempting concept, in reality, this practice is equivalent to claiming that Everest is a pleasant place for an afternoon walk.
The main gripe lies in Trustpilot's extreme openness: anyone, regardless of their direct involvement with a company, can contribute a review. This spectrum of reviewers includes actual customers, but also trolls, vengeful competitors, and the owners of the companies themselves. The result is a chaotic platform where all voices find space, regardless of their validity.
To address issues related to fake reviews, Trustpilot has implemented a flagging system. However, without a Know Your Customer (KYC) verification, such an initiative can seem ineffective, almost like trying to put out a fire with a glass of water.
Now, one might ask: what happens if a defamatory review is left? The answer is disappointing. Trustpilot seems to respond to these issues with indifference, not responding to official communications, nor identifying the author of the defamatory review.
This carelessness is even more marked when the reviews come from secure and encrypted email services, such as Protonmail, which are sometimes used to leave anonymous reviews.
Additionally, Trustpilot offers businesses the opportunity to "take control" of their page, through paid plans that promise to "protect" businesses from negative reviews. However, this practice has raised concerns, as it could appear as an extortion attempt: a company could feel obliged to pay to protect its reputation.
Surprisingly, despite the issues outlined, Trustpilot continues to operate. Supervisory authorities seem to ignore the potential harmful consequences of such practices for numerous deserving and legitimate companies, considering such damages as a negligible side effect of digital innovation.
In this context, businesses that fall victim to fake reviews on Trustpilot are left to fend for themselves. Requests to remove fake reviews are often ignored, while Trustpilot continues to profit from companies that pay money to protect their reputation.
In the digital age, where online reputation can make or break a business, the blame for fake reviews should fall on platforms themselves, like Trustpilot. We could get to the point where the courtroom becomes the arena for companies trying to defend their reputation.
Until then, it's important to approach Trustpilot reviews with a critical attitude. In a world where anyone can express any opinion, truth can become a subjective opinion and reliability a luxury.
So next time you see a company with a high Trustpilot rating, it's important to remember that it could be the result of a string of fake reviews, trolls hiding behind secure email services, and a platform more interested in generating profits that ensure the integrity of the reviews.
And if you're a business considering Trustpilot to manage your online reputation, keep in mind that protection comes at a cost, which may be more than you're willing to pay.
Trusting reviews on Trustpilot is like trusting a scammer who swears by their honesty. No matter how plausible it may sound, it is always advisable to exercise a healthy skepticism. In a world where appearances can be deceiving, the only person you can truly trust is yourself.