How UpCity’s Quality Team Verifies Reviews: A Conversation with Morgan Dowling
Our manager of research and analytics discusses UpCity’s review requirements and processes, and how they help us uphold our commitment to transparency.
At UpCity, we view fake reviews as a problem that needs to be taken seriously. Reviews are a powerful tool for businesses, with an average of 93% of customers reading reviews before buying a product or service. While we mostly hear about the issue affecting major players like Google and Amazon, small businesses aren’t immune either.
That’s why we spoke with our Manager of Research and Analytics, Morgan Dowling, to take a deeper look into our extensive checklist of what makes a review on a customer’s UpCity profile legitimate, so we can uphold our promise to both buyers and customers that we bring honesty to the market.
What Criteria Must A Submitted Review Make To Get Approved?
Morgan Dowling: We have community guidelines that detail what constitutes a valid review on UpCity. The reviewer must have a current or previous business relationship with the company they are reviewing. This could be a client, vendor, or even a prospective client. The review also needs to have context and be about the work that the company has done for them. We currently don’t publish reviews from current or past employees because that’s not the nature of our marketplace. Those have a home at sites like Glassdoor. Also, the review of course cannot have explicit or defamatory language.
Why Is Combating Fake Reviews So Important?
MD: Marketplaces like UpCity exist for the buyer—we aim to help the buyer find a service provider that they can trust. This is based very heavily on reviews and testimonials from others who have worked with the service provider. Fake reviews will hurt everyone. A buyer may hire a service provider that ends up not being able to meet their needs (or worse). And fake reviews hurt other service providers listed on UpCity by damaging their ability to find new clients.
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What Are Common “Red Flags” In Spotting A Fake Review?
MD: We look at a lot of different things. Volume/timeframe is sometimes an indicator if a service provider receives multiple reviews in a short time. If a review is flagged, the content can also help when it comes to confirming or declining the review—are there details about the services provided? I’d say 80% of the time if a review shouldn’t be posted, it’s very clear to the person vetting it based on the criteria it has to meet to be published. The other 20% of the time it can take some deeper diving into the reviewer and the service provider to determine legitimacy.
What Advice Do You Have For Businesses Eager To Collect Reviews—And To Do So Ethically?
MD: I think there are lots of ways to weave review generation in a company’s day-to-day. Things like adding a widget/link to your email signature, displaying a review request prominently on your business website, and of course, asking people! We see that the more personal and genuine a review request is, the more likely it is that the request will convert.
Consistency will also be helpful—building review requests into the communication schedule with a customer service team or project manager is a good way to have a steady flow of new reviews. It’s also important to decide which review site(s) you want to focus on. Maybe you have a client that you know would be happy to review you on three different sites, and another client who can hardly be bothered to write 40 words for you on one. Knowing your clients is key as well.
Also, running specific campaigns can always give you a nice review hike. Some companies offer monetary compensation for reviews, which can seem a bit sketchy. That’s why at UpCity we run campaigns that benefit charities, offering a donation for each new review. It’s a way to show the reviewer that we genuinely want their feedback and that something good will come of it.
To learn more about review generation—and how to spot fake ones—visit our Reviews Archive.
About the author
Rebecca helps keep all things content running at UpCity. Prior to joining, she was a magazine editor at an agency for several award-winning publications based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and a content specialist for several brands within the SMB/B2B landscape. She also has significant experience in digital content creation, most notably targeting hunters and anglers (despite being a vegetarian) during her time at Gander Outdoors. Rebecca has also worked in PR, covering a diverse terrain of products and events, including the promotion of local musicians and music festivals and the latest craft beer offerings from local breweries.