British businesses are losing out on millions of pounds of sales due to fake or unjust reviews, according to Got Juice, the online reputation management company. It said that review sites such as Qype, Yelp and Trip Advisor encourage consumers to write reviews but do not authenticate them or attempt to prove that the reviewer is genuine, with one in 10 reviews estimated to be fake. The company said that 85% of consumers search for reviews and recommendations online before making a purchase. Mark Hall managing director of Got Juice said: “A single bad review can ruin the chances of gaining new customers and create a long standing, horrible word of mouth campaign offline. If left, the review could quickly lead the company to bankruptcy. “Although the UK defamation law is in place to protect businesses and individuals from unjust mentions online, this law is difficult to enforce, as the vast majority of review sites are based overseas and do not acknowledge the UK law. “If your business receives a negative review or mention it is very important to respond to the customer online, always remain calm and do not take it personally. A good response would be to offer an apology and a invitation to discuss things in more detail.” Hall said that if a business has no reviews, it can be equally as harmful as a negative one; with over 70% of new business inquiries coming from reviews, referrals and word of mouth.

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