ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler
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Should you trust online review sites?

You need a plumber to come and fix your boiler, you're in the market for a wiley tax accountant, or perhaps you want to know which medical aid scheme provider give the best service and value for money...

So you head to an online review site to find out what the word on the street is regarding a certain service provider.

But how do we know that reviews on an open public platform are genuine?

What stops a business from singing its own praises in a fake review, or criticising the opposition?

Alon Rom, CEO of review site Hello Peter, joined consumer journalist Wendy Knowler on Cape Talk to talk about the reliability of sites such as his.

More than 1,000 reviews are posted on the site every day and Rom says they have a number of automated mechanisms to flag potentially fake reviews.

Things like multiple reviews emanating from the same IP address, multiple reviews written about the same business within a certain timeframe, we look for patterns in email addresses being used to register accounts.

Alon Rom, CEO - Hello Peter

We recently launched an artificial intelligence spam detector which flags potential spam or fake reviews.

Alon Rom, CEO - Hello Peter

Rom says consumers and site users are also helpful in reporting suspicious reviews on the site.

If they've had awful experiences with a business and they come across a lot of positive reviews and they highlight this to us to investigate... businesses often report what they think might be fake reviews.

Alon Rom, CEO - Hello Peter

Listen to the full interview below:


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