The amount of fake social proof out there

Do you think loads of websites just put up fake user reviews/star ratings on their websites for "social proof"?

As long as they don't fake it too obviously, it can actually sound convincing.

If anyone can put five stars on their website and a few stock image faces as user reviews... Social proof basically becomes a trick that does the exact opposite?

What do you think?

  1. 3

    I would class it as a dark pattern.

    I basically don't trust any social proof unless it has a real person's name behind it. If you use that rule of thumb then it becomes easier to identify what is likely real.

    Of course, I'm more savvy than the average user...I hate it when people fake it and I won't buy if I feel they are.

    1. 1

      I think the name/picture requirement can be waived if there's a trusted 3rd party, like Amazon or AppSumo or whatever the platform is, to verify them as a verified purchaser.

  2. 1

    I agree with the others and I often tend to disregard any social proof where it's just straight text and a photo. I'm sure there are a ton of legitimate quotes being used on sites, but you just can't know for sure. One method I've really come to enjoy as far as displaying social proof is to embed tweets since you can easily click through on the embedded tweet and see the source.

  3. 1

    I agree and it’s super transparent. Especially when they use stock images.

    I use a lot of social proof with real customers and what I do to let people know it’s legit is link out to the customer’s homepage (with their permission). So if you have any doubts about their statement you can contact them yourself and ask.

    In my opinion this extra step is needed or social proof (testimonials) hold no water.

  4. 1

    I'd say don't do it, I have been asked to do this in my career, a few times, but if you refuse to do it most people drop it. So I have no data, but from CRO buddies they claim it is worse from conversation, but that is heresay.

  5. 1

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