What’s New for October 3, 2013 – Fake Online Reviews & Studies Galore

Study: 15% of US Adults Do Not Use the Internet

15% of Americans age 18 or older do not use the Internet, and 9% said they don’t use it in their homes, according to a report released by Pew Research Center. Those that do not use the internet cited reasons like: lack of interest, cost, lack of internet access, too busy, or feel that the internet is a waste of time. More than 40% of respondents above the age of 65 do not use the Internet, while just 2% in the 18-29 age range don’t use it.

Internet Adoption Since 1995

The truly staggering statistic is that less than 20 years ago (an eternity in tech advancement terms), 85% of people did not use the Internet. The chart below shows the rate of internet adoption among American adults since 1995.

Study: Facebook Logins Still #1, But Google+ Is Gaining

Janrain has released a study on social login usage and the results showed that Facebook is still the leading social login service with a 46% usage rate. Google+ is gaining and now claims 34% of the social logins, a solid second-place showing.

Social Login Trends

Fake Online Reviews Cost 19 Firms Large Fines in New York

The importance of online reviews has led to the growth of firms that charge to write glowing reviews on sites like Yelp and Google+. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced agreements with 19 of the bogus review companies to stop the practice and pay $350,000 in fines. Reportedly, the California Attorney General’s office is looking into similar issues in that state.

Gartner estimates that by 2014, some 15 percent of online reviews will be fake. The Federal Trade Commission released new guidelines in March trying to address all the new ways consumers get information about purchases. Under the guidelines, if someone is compensated for writing a review of a business, they must disclose the relationship. Yelp and other review sites work diligently to sniff out fake reviews (i.e. the person in Houston reviewing a carpet cleaning firm in San Diego), but the rewards in online placement and conversion for some businesses tempt them to try and outsmart the system.

Bottom Line: The following myths have been dispelled by this week’s research information:

  1. Everybody is not online.
  2. Fake reviews are not the way to build placement and conversion overnight.
  3. Google+ may catch up to Facebook yet. Time will tell.

Who knew?

Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, a Santa Rosa, California based Website Development, SEO and Online Marketing Firm.

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