Review site Trustpilot says it’s creating more transparency around how businesses respond to consumer reviews.
Founder and CEO Peter Mühlmann told me that while “the vast majority of companies” are using their ability to flag questionable reviews in “exactly the right way,” there’s a small minority that are potentially “ruining it for everyone” by aggressively flagging bad reviews.
So with the new Transparent Flagging feature, Trustpilot visitors can actually see how many reviews a company flagged (starting on January 1st of this year), and what the ultimate outcome was. That way, if you’re wondering if you’re only seeing positive reviews because a business challenged all the negative ones, you can find out for yourself by clicking on the “activities” button in a business profile.
That will reveal how many reviews were taken down because they represented a real breach of Trustpilot’s policies, versus reviews where the poster simply didn’t respond to questions, versus legitimate reviews that were ultimately reinstated.
Mühlmann suggested that this is part of a broader effort to make sure consumers can actually trust the reviews they see online, and to fight back against what he described (in a follow-up email) as “an arms race to five stars.”
“If marketers are motivated to cheat on our platform, consumers are going to see them do it,” he said. “At that point, the benefits simply don’t outweigh the risks. I wish them good luck — they’re going to need it.”