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Online reviews are broken – here’s how to fix them

It’s a crime story fit for the digital era. It was recently reported that a number of restaurants in New York had been targeted by internet scammers threatening to leave unfavorable “one-star” reviews unless they received gift certificates.

The same threats were made to eateries in Chicago and San Francisco and it appears that a vegan restaurant received as many as eight one-star reviews in the space of a week before being approached for money.

It’s surprising this sort of thing hasn’t emerged before. An over-reliance on the “wisdom of the crowd”, whereby many people measure things by the approval of the rest of the community, leaves us vulnerable to this kind of fraud.

It’s all about numbers. Products and companies are measured online by the number of stars they get on a five-star scale, influencers are measured by numbers of followers, and posts are measured by the number of likes or retweets.

The satirical Kardashian index…

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