Trustpilot published its second annual Transparency Report detailing the latest stats on the user reviews submitted to the company, as well as outlining its ongoing efforts to combat unscrupulous review manipulation by online retailers, manufacturers, and other bad actors.
According to the new report, a total of 46.7 million reviews were submitted to the service during 2021, representing a quarter of all reviews ever submitted to it since its 2007 launch.
As the number of reviews submitted to Trustpilot surged, so too did the number of fake review removals. The service counted some 2.7 million fraudulent reviews it removed over the course of 2021. Of this total, Trustpilot claims 1.8 million were caught by automated detection software, a 19% increase over the performance of its automated detection efforts during the prior year.
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Automation was also applied to the task of taking action against businesses that attempted to manipulate Trustpilot's platform to mislead customers. The company said it sent out 1,425 formal "cease and desist" letters as well as 121,048 automated warnings, to businesses found breaching its guidelines. This second figure represented a 210% increase over automated warnings issued in 2020.
Trustpilot previously dealt with several incidents in which it was accused of allowing fake reviews to exist on its platform while also allowing companies to game its systems in ways that falsely inflated their own review scores.
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The company began publishing transparency reports like this one, in part, to preemptively answer any questions about how it deals with retailers and manufacturers attempting to manipulate its metrics. To that end, it detailed the unscrupulous ways companies had tried to manipulate their Trustpilot scores in 2021. Those methods included "incentivizing consumers to leave reviews, 'cherry picking' by selectively inviting only happy customers to share feedback, abusing the reporting tool by repeatedly only flagging negative reviews to Trustpilot, or soliciting fake reviews." Each of these attempts resulted in warnings and punitive actions when detected.
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Finally, Trustpilot named a trio of particularly egregious violators of its policies that it has chosen to take legal action against: Global Migrate, SO Cameras, and Euro Resales. The review tracking company noted "any damages paid as part of any litigation to be given to organizations protecting consumers online." It did not share the details of any of the three ongoing cases.
Additional stats and details published with this year's report can be found on Trustpilot's Transparency webpage.