The Competition and Markets Authority says one of its priorities for 2016-17 is to pursue a project analysing the accuracy and effectiveness of online review websites.
The accuracy and reliability of online reviews has been a hot issue for the agency industry, as the number of review sites has increased in recent years.
The CMA has published its priorities for the 2016-17 financial year in an online consultation document which can be seen here.
It says one of its priorities will be to follow up its earlier work on these review websites. Back in June it called for evidence from interested parties for its preliminary investigation.
At the time it said that while online reviews and endorsements are useful to consumers “it has concerns that some practices may be unlawful.”
In the course of its work, the CMA says it has heard about instances of potentially misleading practices including fake reviews being posted onto review sites, negative reviews not being published, and businesses paying for endorsements in blogs and other online articles without this being made clear to consumers.
The CMA has opened an official investigation into the subject and the authority’s business plan suggests this will be an area of its activities in the coming year.