The one-star rating. The snarky Facebook rant. The dire warning about Company X in an online forum. Whether we’re shopping online for a new hair dryer, new employer or new hairline, we seek out “unbiased, objective” information—and truth is, our eyes are mostly drawn to negative comments and reviews.
That’s only natural. Hey, no one wants to get burned, especially on a significant purchase. But can we assume that all of those reviews and comments are real? Unfortunately, no. Much of what we find online is agenda-driven, and some of it is totally fabricated. Recent studies have exposed companies hiring people to post five-star Yelp reviews for $0.25 each, authors are well known to post positive anonymous reviews of their own books—and that’s just scratching the surface*.
Tons of websites claim to be independent when they’re anything but, and in my world—Scalp Micropigmentation—this is a serious and growing problem. People researching this increasingly popular procedure often land on sites that bill themselves as objective, third-party information sources. But are they?
A closer look reveals that most, if not all, “third-party” SMP websites are ultimately controlled by SMP providers —including scalpsearch.com (owned by Scalp Aesthetics) and smpdebate.com (owned by HIS hair clinic).
Beyond this, many SMP providers offer “consumer forums” on their own websites. And while these appear to offer nothing but objective, unprompted opinions from regular Joes and Janes, they’re not exactly immune to the kinds of fabrications found on Yelp and other consumer sites. It should go without saying that these practices serve the provider, not the consumer. But I’ll say it anyway.
Yes, the internet will always be the Wild West. And companies are right to try and control their reputations when there’s so much at stake. But there’s a definite line between control and manipulation. Scalp Micro Pigmentation might represent a tiny corner of web, but it’s a life-changing procedure for millions of men and women around the globe. So let’s keep it real.