Avid® Ratings Urges Homebuilding Industry to Elevate Best Practices and Ethical Conduct in Online Reviews and Eliminate Online Review Fraud Growing Prevalent in New Home Sale Marketplace
Company Launches Integrity Campaign with Pledge to Uphold Ethical Conduct in its Online Review Programs
MADISON, WI (June 1, 2016) – Avid® Ratings, the full-service customer experience (CX) firm exclusively serving residential construction companies, today announced the launch of the Avid® Ratings Integrity Campaign, the company’s effort to elevate and promote ethical conduct and best practices in the building industry’s online review marketplace. The campaign underscores the company’s belief that online reviews have become one of the most important consumer buying decision influencers, in addition to the growing need to combat unethical online review practices increasingly prevalent in the home building industry. The Integrity Campaign is both an Avid® Ratings company pledge to uphold the highest ethical standards in its own online review programs as well as an educational tool designed to push the building industry toward upholding and supporting those same standards when participating in the online review arena.
“Avid® Ratings believes that online reviews hold significant influence over the buying decisions of consumers both in, and outside, of the building industry,” said Paul Cardis, Founder and CEO of Avid® Ratings. “While an undoubtedly powerful tool for both consumers and builders alike, the increasing occurrence of fraudulent review activities threaten the integrity of our industry at a detriment to the reputation of builders as well as to a consumer’s ability to make legitimate buying choices. We urge our industry to recognize the importance of this issue and to match our pledge to uphold ethical conduct and best practices when participating in all online review related activity.”
A 2014 New Home Conversion Report by Bokka Group and NAHB Research Center found that 80.9 percent of homebuyers surveyed find the reviews and testimonials of other buyers to be of paramount importance when researching different builders. Additionally, Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey indicates that aside from recommendations made from personal acquaintances and relationships, consumer opinions posted online have the most influence on purchasing decisions. As such, the impact of online customer reviews may now both rival and surpass television advertisements, branded websites, print ads, and other important marketing channels.
Ethical online reviews allow consumers to rate builders for service, new home product and the overall buying experience, giving additional consumers key information when deciding if, and whom, to buy a home from. Ethical reviews are candid and uncensored and, when less than positive, provide builders with key data on areas for improvement. As such, legitimate online reviews provide both the consumer and the builder with invaluable information. Conversely, unethical online reviews mar transparency in the marketplace, reducing a consumer’s ability to properly vet builders, while potentially elevating the reputation of unethical builders and lowering the reputation of quality builders who actually provide superior new home product and customer service.
“Reviews have completely re-shaped the purchase experience and, because of that, businesses face increased pressure to present positive reviews to increase sales,” said Cardis. “This pressure is the catalyst for some to engage in fraudulent review practices such as the planting of fake positive reviews as well as review washing, a practice whereby companies filter out negative reviews to increase their overall star ratings in search engines. These unethical practices undermine the legitimacy of online reviews altogether and are extremely damaging to the consumer marketplace.”
A 2012 Gartner study estimated that one in seven recommendations or ratings on social media sites would soon be fake, forecasting the critical nature of the issue the marketplace faces today.
“This is an issue that negatively impacts both consumers and businesses and, as an industry, we need to address and resolve it,” added Cardis. “We hope that the Avid® Ratings integrity pledge will help elevate awareness among the builders and other important industry participants shaping the future of our industry today.”
About Avid Ratings
Founded in 1992, Avid Ratings Co. (avidratings.com) is a full-service customer experience (CX) firm dedicated exclusively to helping residential construction companies maximize customer value, increase sales velocity and grow market share. Avid develops and implements end-to-end voice of customer (VoC) and integrated marketing technologies for attracting, delighting and activating loyal homebuilding and remodeling customers. Avid Ratings currently serves over 2,000 residential construction companies throughout North America and is ranked among the “50 Most Influential Tech Companies in Residential Construction” by Constructech magazine.
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