Review.Network Is Taking Fake Reviews Out Of The Equation

In an increasingly digital world, we rely on online reviews to make all sorts of decisions. Whether you’re deciding which coffee to buy, which plumber to hire or where you should get laser eye surgery, reviews are central to who and what you trust.

But how can we be sure that a business, or competitor, has not simply paid people or deployed bots to write fake reviews? With the internet's existing infrastructure we cannot be sure and this means that online reviews remain unreliable. Yet we still use them, despite strong evidence demonstrating that 20 per cent of online reviews are fake.

Then we heard about Review.Network, which aims to level the playing field when it comes down to online reviews. This firm has provided a very well thought out implementation of blockchain technology and subsequently we became very excited about the potential of this project, not just from a commercial perspective but also for social good. We went through their white paper with a fine-tooth comb and created two initial press releases about the two aspects we found most exciting about this startup.

The first aspect was their focus on enforcing honesty and quality using a reward and penalty system. Reviewers will be able to earn a handsome fee for writing reviews, as the platform will take money-hungry middlemen out of the equation by design, allowing market research tokens paid in by businesses to be transferred to reviewers. However, in order to earn the fee, reviewers must stake a small 'deposit' that they can lose if abuse of the system is detected. No central authority will have the power to detect bad reviews because this can result in corruption. Instead, a global network of validators, proven to be individuals and almost guaranteed to be unknown to each other, will assess reviews and submit a vote. Only by consensus is the review immortalised, immutably, on the blockchain platform.

The second aspect was their focus on enforcing privacy for everyone. We firmly disagree that companies have any right to secretly collect as much data about you as possible, then profit from that data. Yet this happens every day and has to change. Review.Network will give every consumer full ownership over their own data, and it is never stored on a flawed central server (which can result in data breaches and leaks as we regularly see elsewhere). When consumers decide to sell part of their data for market research purposes, they know exactly what insights they are selling and that data is made anonymous. We think this is a great step forward in a world where private companies appear to be going full on in to an Orwellian 1984 state.

When we become excited about a technology idea, we learn as much as we can about it and imagine what the future would look like should the idea really take off. The enthusiasm with which we shape the press release and pitch the story tends to be infectious, and in this case our pitch to Forbes was a success.

Pitching a story, especially one that concerns a start-up which has had minimal Press beforehand, is always a pivotal moment. You have to find the right angle, the right tempo and the right dose of realism. For a client, their story is their entire world. This is their moment. All the months and even years of preparation, taking from concept to MVP to product, finally becomes real. The time to tell the world, through the media, about who they are.

But this is also the problem. Because, quite frankly, who cares? Hundreds of plausible start ups are created every day. The key is, what makes this one different? How will it change the status quo? Is it in the public interest? Who are the key people involved?

Nine times out of 10, start ups do not measure up to what journalists decide make good column inches. But Review.Network did.

We knew it had the potential to achieve positive Tier 1 media coverage, which is a rarity for a company’s first piece of coverage. But we also knew that we needed the right platform and the right journalist. Forbes was the client’s dream. We knew the one journalist who specialised in the area and we gave it to her exclusively. She saw what we did, and the dream was delivered in to a reality.

We're expecting to see this story hit a few more headlines yet for Review.Network as they are delivering their own dose of realism to the world of online reviews.

If you're using technology to make the world a better place, and are seeking some earned media coverage, get in touch. We're always happy to arrange an initial face to face or video call where you can pitch to us and get our honest opinion.