Tuesday, 10 July 2018

How to get fake 5 star reviews for your product via Equity Crowdfunding


When Oppo Brothers are not asking their investors to post fake reviews on Asda, they make ice cream. I always thought this sort of nonsense went on but have never caught anyone red handed. Oppo Brothers raised £400k on Seedrs in 2016.

Here is the text of the Oppo Brothers latest shareholder communique. Since this was issued, many 5 star reviews have appeared on their product reviews at Asda. Dont think we need to say more -

Tell Asda shoppers that Oppo is awesome.

We're low on reviews in Asda and could do with a few more - every review will help accelerate sales! We need to have an average of over 4.5* to unlock more support.
It takes 30 seconds to add a quick star rating, you don't need to shop there, and one or two brief words and will help grow your investment. 
(Just don't say you're an Oppo investor 😉 )
Just click any of the flavours here, then click the reviews tab and you will get hero status:


Following comments below its obvious not everyone agrees on this. My point is that if you allow this by just saying its ok, then where do you draw the line. Oppo are asking indirectly for 5 star reviews (they say they need 4.5 plus ie 5). So for example you might not like their apple and gosseberry as much as their melon but because you are a SH you give it 5 anyway. That is a fake review. If the product was worth 5 stars then customers would give it 5 stars - that is the whole purpose of reviews. It may well be a 5 star product but you shouldnt be making it one.

Oppo Brothers are one ECF company heading in the right direction - they really do not need to be attempting to manipulate things like this. 







29 comments:

  1. I've given it 2 stars to balance out the status quo. Cheek of them! I also titled my name as "Oppo Investor". Should raise eyebrows. Disagree with fake anything.

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  2. What's wrong with encouraging their investors to leave reviews? They haven't asked their investors to lie about the product, have they?

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  3. Well if you cant see whats wrong, you are part of the problem. They have asked investors to put up fake reviews ie lies. They state 'you dont have to buy the product' - but the reviews are for those who have bought the product. I give up.

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  4. Rob, they state you don't have to shop there. I think all these flavours are available elsewhere.

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    1. Exactly they are asking investors to post reviews on the Asda site as if they had purchased the product there and liked it. It is a con trick of the lowest order and has no place in a serious business.

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  5. To be fair, it says you "don't have to shop there" - i.e. ASDA. I would imagine most crowdfunders of products such as this do actually have experience of the product, and presumably liked it enough to invest, so not really lying - just helping on a site that they wouldn't otherwise have visited. I have also been asked by another company to do this, and I had tasted, and liked, the product.

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  6. They are asking for fake reviews - end of.

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  7. Hi Rob (and thanks Bert),

    Just to be clear, it’s absolutely correct that we asked our investors to review Oppo. We make no apologies for that. Our 1,200 investors were consumers of Oppo before they joined our crowd-funding round, and they are a big part of the community who help to spread the word that food doesn’t have to have loads of sugar and calories to taste fantastic.

    The reviews are genuine and most definitely not fake – we’ve never asked anyone to lie about our product. Our mission is to bring everyone temptation you never need to resist, and reviews are a key part of spreading the message for any business.

    The vast majority of our investors put in the minimum amount to buy one share. They are not going to get rich on Oppo. They simply enjoy our ice cream and are happy to help tell others about it.

    Best regards
    Harry Thuillier (Co-Founder, Oppo Brothers)

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    1. Hi I cant agree - which is why the post is here. You asked investors to alter the star rating for your product at Asda even if they havent either tried the product or shopped there. Your only stipulation is that they dont say they are investors. That stinks IMO. The next small step is to ask investors to put up poor reviews of a rival product. But if you are happy to run your business that way good luck to you. We will continue to call it out.

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  8. Many legitimate businesses actively encourage positive reviews. What's wrong with asking your shareholders to leave a review? You don't have to shop at Asda to leave a product review and there's nothing in your post that suggest that the company is asking their shareholders to lie about the quality of the product. For the avoidance of doubt, I am not an investor or in any way associated with the company and I've never tried their product.

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    1. Each to his own. I see this differently. They are asking for their investors to change up the review status of the Asda site - specifically and telling them they dont have to shop there to do it. I wonder how Asda feel about that? That to me is wrong. If you turn this on its head - would it be ok for these investors to post poor reviews of a rival product? Where is the line?

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  9. For me, the line is where people who don't like the product put a positive review, but there is no evidence of that being encouraged here. As I said before, it's just people who may not shop at ASDA. One of the key benefits of ECF is having brand ambassadors, and this is a way for them to directly help the company they have invested in because they love the product. Not sure how that could ever be unethical or constitute lying. As for putting bad reviews of rivals up - that is also fine as long as they have been genuinely tasted and disliked. It doesn't matter where you buy it, or even if was given to you!

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  10. Agree with Bert - where does it say you don't need to try the product?

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    1. It doesnt. It certainly implies it but that isnt the issue. The company has requested investors put up 5 star reviews whether they have tried the product or not, shopped at Asda for it or not. Simply yo boost the rating to over 4.5 stars. You may agree with this. I dont. We live in time where acceptable behaviour is whatever you can get away with. There is no integrity in this. Oppo do not need to be doing it - they are going well.

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  11. Just noticed your update, Rob. The fact is that the email says nothing about expressing a fake opinion. Most people don't put reviews on supermarket sites, which is why a few bad reviews can badly skew the score. In addition, those who do review are more often than not people who hate the product. As Bert says, by using brand ambassadors who genuinely do love the product, they can help rebalance the scores. Clearly there is a risk of this hugely outweighing "normal" customers, but that's why most people (except obviously ASDA) take them with a pinch of salt. Hardly an ECF scandal. ASDA should be using sales figures and their own judgment to "unlock more support" for brands - not rely on a few opinionated shoppers.

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  12. You make your assumptions out to be facts. Dangerous ground. If it is so unimportant why did the company request investors visit the Asda site and put up 5 star reviews? Which if you look at the site they have done. People will do whatever they they can get away with - that's the line these days.

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    1. I think the headline of this post is making an assumption out to be a fact.

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    2. No its my opinion. This whole blog is made up of my opinions backed up by facts. P Turner uses phrases like 'most people' do this without any evidence.

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    3. Hi Rob - here's the evidence if you need it. After this request for a few extra reviews, there are still only 16, 25, 32 and 16 reviews respectively for the four flavours linked above. Now given my experience in marketing, I am going to make an educated guess that they have more people than that buying Oppo at ASDA. As others below have said, these reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, but as it says in the email, ASDA choose not to do this, and instead use them to drive decisions on "unlocking more support" for brands - the point I tried to make above. There is no race to the bottom from doing this, unless you count gaming an erroneous system as being part of a race to the bottom. If ASDA weren't so lazy, this wouldn't happen, and given the number of outlets where Oppo is available, it is interesting that only ASDA has found themselves as the target of this technique.

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  13. Rob - from your quote I cannot see anywhere where they request investors to put up a 5 star review, purely just to review the product - I guess they are hopeful that people who have invested like the product a lot! I think you bring up many good points in your blog but you have been a bit overzealous here, countless brands request this from their supporters. Its purely just a characteristic of the online market place and how you have to behave to get anywhere.

    From a commercial perspective the business would be being a bit naive if you do not ask for support and this would be doing a disservice to investors. I get numerous emails from every product I buy and don't buy asking me to leave a review.

    The whole internet review system is flawed really and needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, it's all bought and skewed examples range from facebook selling likes to the criticisms of yelp/trip advisor manipulating results - hence the EU investigations.

    For the business it is essentially the classic prisoners dilemma - you don't know if your competitors are doing it but you will be significantly worse off if they are and you are not. So the Nash equilibrium position is to ask for reviews.

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    1. We can agree to disagree Laurence. They are asking investors help push review ratings up to 4.5 or over (that is specified) - in order to do that they are asking for 5 star reviews as these are the only ones that will do that. I dont care what countless brands do - that does not make it right. We are not in race to the bottom - well Im not. And if it is all to be taken with a pinch of salt (something we can certainly agree on) then why is the CEO of Oppo asking investors to waste their time. You cant have it both ways. I really do not think that Nash would agree with you. And again if we all lived under the basis that you suggest, ie we must do something because the other guy might be doing it, we would be in a far bigger mess than we are right now. There is a line and IMO (the blog is all about IMO) this has crossed it. You do not have to agree.

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  14. Rob, you're starting to make a fool of yourself here as you are coming across extremely stubborn.

    Just take it on the chin and admit you got this one wrong...

    Your opinions and assumptions on this are overly exaggerated and that is why you are getting so many responses.

    I'm sure you will tell me I'm wrong of course ;)

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    1. Appreciate the kind advice 'jack'old boy. It is merely a matter of perception - nobody is wrong here. Your views are not not my views - it's that simple. I do honestly believe that many of today's problems are caused by a lack of integrity and acceptance that if you can get away with it then 'it' is ok. I do not think you need to be patronising again in any response, you save that for elsewhere.

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  15. Rob, Thanks for bringing this to the SH attention, this is not a practice we would wish to encourage; as you say it’s all about integrity and we don’t wish to be associated with what other businesses may do. Will be speaking to them.

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  16. Rob, your take on this situation and interpretation of the email is totally correct, thanks for posting. Anyone who disagrees clearly has a vested interest.

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    1. I disagree and I have no vested interest. I've never tasted the product nor am I in anyway connected with the company.

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    2. Nor do I. I guess people just interpret these things (very) differently!

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