Legal prohibition of fake reviews
What does the review legislation mean?
Since 28 May 2022, new legislation has been in force which prohibits the posting of fake reviews and manipulation in the review field. Of course, we are very happy about this. The fact that this is a hot topic has also been proven by the ban, among others from Google, on rewarding review writing (incentives). As a Google Review Partner, and one of the largest review companies in the Netherlands, we are committed to making the review world a fairer place. On this page you can read what this new legislation means.
What does the legislation mean exactly?
The responsibility lies entirely with you as an organisation. You must be able to demonstrate the following:
- Who the author of the published review is
- What demonstrable relationship the writer of the published review has
With relation we mean: a purchase has been made or a contact moment has taken place that justifies this published review. In short, the review must be legitimate and demonstrably written by verified persons.
Who is Feedback Company?
We are an independent party that collects reviews for our clients. The only thing we find important is that the reviews about our customer are real, regardless of the grade or content of the review. We strive to collect only real reviews, from real people based on an experience or purchase.
We therefore have house rules that must be observed when writing a review. Please read the guidelines of the house rules. Reviews that do not meet the house rules may be removed or rejected.
What does Feedback Company do to comply with this law?
We, as a review platform, publish every review written about our customer. There may sometimes be some delay due to (for example) a specific word used in the review. Our system then marks this as ‘noteworthy, this review must be manually reviewed by us and then we approve or reject it. A review can also be put on hold for a certain period of time. As a final check, a verification step is built into the reviews that are not invited through the platform.
What does the on hold period mean?
This is a review that has received a negative score (score 3 or lower or a negative recommendation). To prevent unjustified negative reviews from coming online, we apply an on hold period of 7 days. Once these 7 days have passed, the review will appear – like any other review – at the top of the client’s review page.
What does the verification step involve?
When a review is written without an invitation, the writer has to fill in an e-mail address and a message follows from Feedback Company with the request to confirm the e-mail address. This is an automatic verification step. Without this confirmation the review will not go online. Every review that is online, is linked to an existing and confirmed e-mail address.
What is important for a customer of Feedback Company?
Our customer must know who the person is who wrote the review. We provide them with this information through the e-mail address that is linked to the review. They must also be able to see who the reviewer is from the name entered on the review form, if the e-mail address is not immediately known.
Our customer, and persons who have had no real experience, may not legally be asked to provide feedback. When customers are actively asked to write a review, everyone must receive an invitation to do so. It is not allowed to invite selectively.
How does our review page work?
The review page we offer to our customer, and to the person looking for reviews, works as follows:
- All the reviews that this company has collected for the linked website can be found on this page.
- The name of the website is shown at the top of the page, as well as the average rating collected and the number of reviews collected so far.
- The average score and the number of reviews collected so far are based on the moment the website started collecting to date.
- Furthermore you’ll find a name per review, however there might be reviews without a name. These are called “Anonymous” (for Dutch pages), this is still a real review, but the reviewer wishes to remain anonymous.
It is important to know that the date per review is a publication date. This may differ from the date the review was written. Therefore, if a review is published later than it was written, it will still – always – appear at the top of the page. Page 1 of the review page always shows the most recent review(s).
How are reviews collected?
Our customer has several possibilities to collect reviews, at the moment this is mostly done via an email address of the review writer. Our advice is always to send an e-mail (invitation) through our system to their customer asking them to write a review. Another possibility is to write a review via an open page. For this method, an e-mail address is required so the review can be verified and linked to the right (demonstrable) person.
How does Feedback Company check if the reviews are real?
For years Feedback Company has been trying to reduce the chance of fake reviews and manipulation by using their own built-in checks. The checks in a row:
- When sending an invitation it is checked if the email address is unique
- An e-mail address that has already been invited once in the past 3 months will not be invited again
- The content of a review is checked. When the text does not meet our guidelines, the review is rejected.
- A verification step on the reviews that are not invited through the platform
We also conduct investigations on the reviews that are reported to us. Both consumers and our customers can report a review. We perform independent research on the submitted review(s). We take a decision based on the results.