How poor content moderation lowers revenues

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The need for content moderation has been established over time, especially among businesses that utilize product and service reviews from consumers as a form of earned advertising. Without regulation, user-generated content (UGC) can create a ripple effect that can weaken a brand's online reputation.

In 2013, independent technology and market research firm Forrester Research revealed that reviews and recommendations from other users serve as the most trusted type of web-based advertising and promotion for most consumers. This goes to show that the kind of recognition, whether positive or negative, given to a brand online can easily affect the decision of potential consumers to eventually do business with the company.

One of the dangers of incorporating a UGC section into your business website is the influx of fake reviews.

A consumer researching about a product before purchasing may be swayed by negative reviews written by other people who may not have actually purchased the product in the first place. Chances are, these were written by competitors, and the reviews submitted may be significantly more negative and aggressive than the usual constructive feedback.

Loss of potential customers

When purchasing decisions of potential customers are influenced by these fake reviews, the logical effect would be the brand's weakened marketing ability to gain the customers' trust.

Two marketing experts proved this after conducting a study based on online reviews of an apparel company. Duncan Simester and Eric Anderson, marketing professors of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University respectively, emphasized that "low ratings of products result in significantly less demand for an item for at least 12 months."

Consumers would always want to know if they can trust you to provide them a positive experience before actually buying a product or subscribing to a service that you offer.

If trust cannot be established at the first point of interaction between you and your customer online, your consumer base will become smaller over time.

Customer attrition

Malicious reviews can also prove to be damaging to the loyalty of existing customers. If a business has a bad online reputation, negative impressions can be made even by people who are currently subscribed to the company's services.

In addition, the flooding of obviously fake reviews in a business website may mean lack of effective content moderation strategies. It translates to the website moderator's inability to detect fraudulent user identities and screen spiteful UGC. This gives the brand an image of inadequacy, which can later lead to dissatisfaction of existing clients.

Customer loyalty is at stake when people get dismayed by the company's lack of initiative in handling cases concerning fraud. Customer attrition causes revenue setbacks and may reduce the longevity of your business.

The effect of poor product rating in lowering your sales may motivate competing brands to cheat by publishing fake, defamatory reviews about your products. Handling online reviews must therefore be dealt with caution. Content regulation is the way to go, as keeping an eye on UGC will help you have a good website community. Moreover, credibility is earned only when the brand's image is carefully protected from unwanted detractors. Outsourcing content moderation will help you maintain the caliber of your online presence while giving you time to focus on your in-house operations and core competencies.

Open Access BPO is an outsourcing firm in the Philippines that provides protection to clients' websites through effective content moderation. We help businesses maintain a good online reputation through our reliable content monitoring services. Know more about this outsourcing solution by visiting our website and Google+ page.