This is recognition of the growing power that reviews have on consumer purchasing decisions. In the words of the ACCC;
"Online reviews are increasingly being relied upon by consumers as a low cost means of making more informed purchasing decisions."
The ACCC acknowledges that online reviews are generally in the public interest, giving them more information upon which to base their business selection decisions. However, as the reviews (good or bad) can have a fairly dramatic impact, it can be tempting for an unsavoury minority to abuse online reviews and cause a distortion of information. These guidelines make it very clear what behaviour is and isn't acceptable for both reviewed businesses, and review platforms – in short, don't even thing about trying to submit fake reviews!
WOMO co-founder, Fiona Adler, worked with the ACCC to develop the guidelines, sharing insights gained from sitting across over 350,000 customer reviews on womo.com.au – the largest business reviews site in Australia.
"We know that the integrity of the reviews is the most important thing and over the last 7 years, we've developed robust systems for identifying and removing any suspicious activity. Sometimes we see fake positive reviews (from businesses trying to promote themselves), as well as some negative reviews (from competitors, disgruntled ex-staff, or individuals with a vendetta), but these are VERY few and far between and they're easily dealt with. We were happy to share our learnings with the ACCC."
WOMO has always warned that "Fake Reviews Will Be Found" and fully supports these new guidelines.