Product review ratings are often the first impact a company has on a buyer, and a concerted assault of negative feedback will quickly demolish any online credibility. Any review forum or website implements some type of moderation. This process may occur before or after a review has been written. But what is moderation? Should website testimonials be moderated? Let’s dive in.



review moderation
People moderating testimonials

What is review moderation and why moderate testimonials

Moderation is the process where a website owner or piece of software chooses what kind of content is essential and appropriate for their website, brand, and audience. If the content violates the moderation rules, it is censored, filtered, or edited. This ranges from sharing personal information to having offensive remarks, depending on the forum or app. This process can include verifying the reviewer’s identity or determining whether a conflict of interest occurs.

In essence, should website testimonials be moderated? Moderating feedback is critical to ensuring that only appropriate material is shared. This is beneficial to both customers and companies, but there are several other advantages!

Essential grounds for review moderation

  • Protection of customers (e.g., they may accidentally post their personal details if they were unaware a review was going to be made public)
  • Defending companies from defamatory remarks that may lead to court litigation (for example, wrongly labeling a company a “scam”)
  • Ensuring that all reviews are valid (e.g., leaving reviews for the wrong product or service)
  • Keeping offensive and harmful feedback off the site and deleting them (e.g., inappropriate language, photos, or abusive comments)
  • Stopping the spread of false or spam reviews (this will make businesses only keep genuine feedback and help consumers make better decisions when purchasing)

It would be best if you don’t use moderation to delete honest critical feedback (free of bullying and not violate any other guidelines). This is also the case for changing ratings to say what the business wishes them to say or unfairly improve a company’s brand image or star ranking.

In the case of no moderation, your business may be vulnerable to violence. Therefore your ratings won’t be helpful to you or your customers! Inappropriate, outdated, and insulting review material can damage your brand’s image and portray your goods and services in a false light.

The best practice to receive a quality testimonial is to help the customer and ask specific questions to fish for the right answers. There are many strategies you can use to gather testimonials


testimonials moderation
Testimonials moderation

Can testimonials moderation be bad

So why should website testimonials be moderated? Is it a bad thing? Companies who moderate their own ratings can be deceptive.

When a company has total power over which reviews they receive and remove, it’s all too tempting to remove any potentially rude remark rather than concentrate on the offensive or legally harmful ones. It’s never pleasant to receive a bad review. Still, no company is flawless, and having negative feedback will help you spot problems and create trust with customers by demonstrating that your testimonials are genuine.

And if you want to moderate your own reviews fairly, it’s not always possible to be entirely objective when determining whether or not a review is accurate.

For example, let’s say you’re a hair salon manager. What if you have a customer that isn’t happy to wait? Maybe they are too respectful to say something at the moment. Later during the evening when he wants to leave a review he will leave a dissatisfied one.


website moderation
People moderating website

Should website testimonials be moderated manually or through a software

Should website testimonials be moderated by a human or machine? It’s evident that moderation is essential when gathering feedback. Which sounds better: a platform moderated by humans or by a software? Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

Manual moderation

Human moderation has the most significant flaw. Being partial especially if the moderator works with the business that collects testimonials. Most of the world’s largest tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, rely heavily on human input when it comes to moderation. However, humans are also better at recognizing meaning, sarcasm, and what violates and does not violate their rules.

Software moderation

Machines do not have views or feelings and do not take it personally the way humans do. It will look for relevant material that violates the rules and either delete it or mark it for human review. Unfortunately, since robots have difficulty interpreting the meaning and human expressions, humanly approved testimonials could be flagged and deleted on sight.

It is true that most websites have a difficult time managing and intercepting any of the fake feedback that infests their pages. Some are simple to detect, while others are complex and difficult to spot.

But what if the software starts censoring honest feedback simply because the program senses them as unfavorable? Isn’t deliberately screening out a bad review just because it’s negative almost as manipulative to a product’s review profile as allowing a fake positive testimonial to sneak past it?

There are some wordpress plugin testimonials that can approve reviews that use certain keywords or ban the ones that use fowl language.


testimonials moderation
People moderating testimonials

Should website testimonials be moderated using a perfect system

To put it simply, there’s no such thing as a perfect moderation system. Every moderation system has its flaws.

There will still be customers who are dissatisfied with their testimonials being deleted. Human and algorithm moderators both make mistakes, so you should take precautions to ensure you choose the right system available.

To begin, pick a good review site that employs independent moderators. If customers believe you’re deleting comments merely because you don’t like or agree with them, you risk losing their confidence and business! You don’t have to choose which ratings to delete as a company. Instead, let someone unbiased filter them.

In addition, by using an invite-only rating site, you can keep bots and rivals from leaving false reviews and spamming your service and product sites. You’ll be able to see where you’ve gone wrong and make immediate, positive improvements to your company because you’ll know that any comment you get is authentic and from an actual client. Your business won’t flourish if your data is tainted by false feedback!

Last but not least, don’t be frightened of bad reviews. It might be appealing to use a reviews solution that gives you complete control over which testimonials you can show and which you can delete, but this will crush your consumer’s trust. Sixty-two percent of consumers say they will not support brands that engage in review censorship. Negative reviews will help you create credibility with your consumers while also providing you with crucial knowledge on where you need to change.


customer ratings
Customer ratings

How other websites moderate testimonials

How to let people put testimonials on my website? Many websites have some moderation system in place. Every website or app has terms of service or community guidelines document where you can find out about how they handle reviews.

Google

Google lets you react to reviews, accept them, and effectively humanize the whole experience. There is no way to create a long message thread due to technological limitations. On the other hand, the reviewer can also edit their ranking. So if you get negative criticism, your reaction could determine if they change their mind or not.

You must react to a bad review and give your perspective. The reaction will turn a potentially hurtful series of testimonials into positive ones by demonstrating to other clients how you handle feedback and how happy you are to engage with them to find a solution. If you’ve done everything you can, be sure to say so in your answer.

Amazon

Their community guidelines are long and ambiguous. However, Amazon clearly states that they cannot revise or resubmit after they remove a review. There have been instances where Amazon removed people’s unfavorable ratings for no apparent cause. In time, Amazon also created a sophisticated algorithm to spot false feedback, both positive and negative.

When purchased by the vendor, fake reviews are positive. When bought by rivals to lower the ranking, fake reviews may be harmful. As a result, detecting false feedback is a dynamic matrix that Amazon is attempting to solve with the help of algorithms and a team of experts who manually track.

By looking at a variety of variables, Amazon’s algorithm can detect false feedback. These algorithms can include:

  • The language and wording of the reviews
  • Verifies if the testimonial comes with a Verified Purchase label
  • If multiple reviews jump from 5-stars to 1-star ratings (if a competitor buys the review)
  • Reviewers who constantly leave critical 1-star or overly positive 5-star reviews
  • Excess use of specific keywords that don’t seem natural to an expected reading flow
  • If the reviewer has a very low ranking
happy customer
Happy customer

Yelp

Yelp is a community-driven platform, so deleting images, feedback, or other user material is a serious matter for them. They usually give users the ability to stand by what they post. It’s also worth remembering that Yelp doesn’t take sides in fact-based disagreements.

Despite their challenges to secure and provide consumers with truthful and pure content, Yelp and other review-based companies have vowed to go after phony feedback head-on. The below are few examples of actionable steps that they put into action:

  • Their software can detect and mark potentially fake reviews that use redundant and non-descriptive language
  • They assembled a group of undercover writers that responds to advertisements asking for false testimonials in exchange for money
  • Detection of new accounts created exclusively to post false reviews (with an incomplete profile that can give them away)
  • The number of testimonials on each profile (the more reviews you have, the less likely to have them filtered)
  • If ill-intended users create multiple accounts from the same IP, it can be detected faster
  • Product review through a verified order (not implemented by Yelp yet)

Conclusion

So should website testimonials be moderated? We agree that the best way for customers to shop with faith is to let them read honest, genuine feedback. Under rare circumstances, you can delete or edit a summary if it does not meet your standards. We understand why no one wishes to get a bad rating. However, a single negative review amid a slew of positives is unlikely to harm your business.