Everyone knows the Trustpilot website. Founded by Peter Mühlmann in 2007, Trustpilot reviews have gained popularity over the years and the website is one of the most visited sites on the internet with an Alexa ranking of 341 (June 2020) and 1.2 million reviews monthly. For most passive income chasers in the cryptocurrency and blockchain niche, it’s usually the goto site whenever a new passive income platform comes along. The story is the same for most people. A friend or someone on the internet sends you a link to try out a new platform with a fairly high payout. Before you decide, you go on Google to check reviews about the website. On the first page of Google search results, you click Trustpilot to see what others are saying. You read the reviews and make a decision.
But are Trustpilot reviews real?
The answer is not an easy yes or no. It’s complicated. The simple answer is yes and no. An irony but it’s the truth. For while the platform could be helpful at times, it has also done its fair share to facilitate scams and fraudulent schemes.
Whatever you think about Trustpilot reviews or whatever Trustpilot has become over the years, it was never its plan to be a dishonest platform.
Trustpilot was created as an honest testimonial website – a brilliant platform where users can post honest reviews about websites, platforms, and products they have tried out. These users are supposed to share their real experiences to help other users or anyone searching the internet. To ensure the credibility of Trustpilot reviews, Trustpilot had to implement some guidelines to make it safe for everyone. It claimed it would investigate and remove dishonest and spam reviews. It claimed it would be transparent.
I believed it was for a while. But somewhere along the line, it dropped the ball. And real bad too.
Trustpilot: A Platform Of Questionable Reviews
Trustpilot reviews cannot be trusted wholeheartedly. Okay, that’s a reach – no platform should be trusted wholeheartedly. So let me rephrase. On a scale of 1-10, my trust level for Trustpilot reviews have fallen to 3 and it’s still falling.
How did things get so bad? In one word: Money.
Trustpilot was free for all but Companies could choose to pay for a premium subscription which costs around $500. It was a win-win. It helped improve Trustpilot’s cashflow. Companies could also use it to build the SEO of their websites, respond directly to reviews, use it as another communication channel, and increase the popularity of their websites and offered products. But whether free or premium, the perks should have ended there if Trustpilot wanted to maintain its reputation as a fair, honest platform. But money first right? As long as Trustpilot keeps getting cash, they don’t give a crap about you and I. Why should you trust a platform that doesn’t give a damn about its users? Trustpilot algorithm allows these companies to bury negative reviews about them. This is a revelation that should immediately give everyone pause about ever trusting this platform again.
It doesn’t stop there either. Even for free users, the platform has now made the disreputable shift from being an honest fair platform to a home for scammers and internet trolls. Using the cryptocurrency industry as a case study, I consider some of the tricks scammers use on the platform and the Trustpilot features and actions that facilitate it. I conclude by providing some helpful tips on how to use Trustpilot safely.
(See IdeasDome recommended list of investment platforms here)
The Many Sins Of Trustpilot
- Trustpilot has become a home for scammers and dishonest reviews.
Here are some ways scammers and reviewers are exploiting the Trustpilot platform:
- Fake positive/negative reviews: We all know testimonials are a powerful tool for promotions and scammers know that too. Many scammers and individuals with dubious platforms can easily leave lots of 5-star reviews shouting praises of their scam products. It’s easy to lure many naive people into these schemes. These are people who trust Trustpilot but sadly the platform failed them.
- Promotions and spam: Frequently many scammers jump on genuine companies’ profiles on Trustpilot to leave unhelpful, misleading, and spam comments. See the screenshot below. Clearly, that user has never used that product before. She only left a comment to promote a scam scheme that has nothing to with the platform being reviewed.
- Recovery scams: Recovery scammers are those scumbags who promise you to help recover the funds lost to a scam for a fee but these people are scammers themselves. Click here to see how recovery scams work. One of the reasons people visit Trustpilot is because they got scammed by a platform and are eager to see if others have had similar terrible experiences. Recovery scammers lurking on Trustpilot are exploiting these vulnerable people by posing as scam victims and posting the email or contact details of the person who they claimed had helped them recover their lost funds. All lies.
- Dishonest reviews: Even genuine companies are feeling the heat from Trustpilot dishonest reviews. Former employees and disgruntled customers of genuine companies use the Trustpilot platform as a tool to express their spite by leaving false negative reviews on the platform.
- Trust pilot features and actions that facilitate fake reviews
- Multiple accounts: Users are can open multiple accounts on the Trustpilot platform. To prevent that Trustpilot could implement a user verification system to ensure it stays at 1 personal account o’er user. Of course, company accounts could be more than one. Something tells me Trustpilot is not ready for the work and manpower that this might require but it’s something they might want to consider. I don’t think it’s a 100% solution to the problem but it’s a good place to start.
- Trustpilot inaction/inadequate action: Trustpilot allows you to flag spam, unhelpful, dishonest, and scam comments. It will even boast of not permitting any known fraudulent reviews on its platform. But their actions and inactions speak volumes and paint a different picture. Flagged reviews are rarely removed. I understand some users might flag reviews for flimsy reasons but what about other legitimately concerned users. And someone tells Trustpilot to stop pretending not to know these fraudulent reviews when any casual user of the platform can easily identify these dubious users, spammers, and scammers. I suspect the issue stems from the fact that the Trustpilot team rarely investigates complaints made by free users who make up a majority but when paying users to make complaints, it is taken more seriously.
How to use trustpilot reviews safely?
The truth remains there are still a considerable number of helpful, truthful reviews on the platform. But they are increasingly hard to find. Here are few tips to help you navigate the Trustpilot platform safely and steer clear from the dark side of Trustpilot
- Check the history of the user: Most scammers on the platform have a long history on it. When you read a suspicious review, click on the users who have left it, and it might reveal a user who has a questionable agenda. Many users are paid to leave promotional reviews. Others use it to promote one service (website) or the other. The history of the reviews left by the user will easily reveal this trend.
- Do not contact any of the recovery services: Most of the recovery scam services promoters do so on the review section of other websites without having their own websites. It’s not uncommon to see posers pretending to have been scammed just to lure you to contact an agent who allegedly helped recover their funds. Beware.
- Read several reviews and pay attention to the little details: Doing this can help you identify authentic reviews. Prioritize reviews where the user provides details about the inner workings of the reviewed website. Take generic reviews with a pinch of salt.
- Trustpilot is a business: And this applies to most websites on the internet. There is no need to trust any 100%. At the end of the day, they are all businesses with a profit-making agenda. So have the right expectations going in.
- Follow your guts: If you have a bad feeling about a website, don’t jump on board no matter how juicy the offer is.
Most importantly know this: Protecting your safety on the internet is your responsibility. No one is truly responsible for keeping you safe.
This had been a Trustpilot honest review.
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