The Times has recently published a story (aptly titled "Trustpilot paid by firms to filter reviews") claiming that real estate agents have been inflating the review website Trustpilot with fake positive reviews, specifically estate agencies Purplebricks and Foxtons, who have denied any involvement with inflated reviews.
Trustpilot has also taken issue, saying the article “includes a misrepresentation of the Trustpilot platform and the way we work”.
The Times says it analysed almost 200,000 reviews on Trustpilot, finding that some companies are jumping from a handful of bad responses from consumers one month, to hundreds of positive reviews the next.
The Times, which says that banks are also gaming the system, claims that subscribers can use Trustpilot’s technology to filter the reviews they place on their own website or corporate Facebook pages, “allowing customers to read only favorable posts”.
The story also claims that invitations to review companies are sent to people before they have had a “full chance to experience the service they have bought”.
According to The Times, Trustpilot admits that its technology allows subscribers to filter out bad reviews, but it told the paper that the practice was akin to a book or film review.
A Trustpilot spokesperson said: “A publisher likely wouldn’t put a negative review of their most recent book in promotional materials, but that doesn’t mean that everyone loves the book.”
The Times story cites both Foxtons and Purplebricks, along with Vanquis Bank, a credit provider.
The analysis by The Times found that in August 2016, Foxtons had five reviews on Trustpilot with an average score of 2.2. The following month, Foxtons had 467 reviews, with almost 90% giving it five stars.
Read more here