A former Sunday Riley employee says "a lot of the really great reviews you read are fake".
Sunday Riley, the luxury skincare brand frequently raved about by bloggers and influencers, has admitted to posting fake positive reviews of their products online.
The fake reviews came to light after a former employee leaked a company email to Reddit in which management encourage staff to post “at least three” reviews for a new product, the Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask.
“I’m sharing this especially for the people who shop [the brand] at Sephora, because a lot of the really great reviews you read are fake,” wrote the former employee. The email reads:
When reviewing Saturn please address things like how cooling it felt, the green colour, the non-drying mask effect, radiance boosting, got rid of your acne after a couple of uses… It helps to make yourself seem relatable – like you know how hard acne is and you’ve tried everything, and this one actually works.
“If you notice someone saying things like ‘I didn’t like x about it’, write a review that says the opposite,” the email continues. “The power of reviews is mighty, people look to what others are saying to persuade them and answer potential questions they have.”
It even contains instructions on how the employees can hide their IP addresses, and encourages them to leave reviews on products from other brands before moving on to Sunday Riley’s wares.
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After a huge backlash on Reddit and other online beauty communities, Sunday Riley has stepped forward to confirm that yes, the email is indeed real.
Responding to this post from the Instagram account Estée Laundry, the company claim this was a way to combat fake negative reviews from their competitors:
At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this product, consistent with their experiences. There are a lot of reasons for doing that, including the fact that competitors will often post negative reviews of products to swing opinion.
“We have hundreds of thousands of reviews across platforms around the globe and it would be physically impossible for us to have posted even a fraction of these reviews,” the statement said. “Client word of mouth, sharing how our products have changed their skin, has been the cornerstone of our success. In the end, our products and their results stand for themselves.”
Sunday Riley products do seem to work for many people – but this news will doubtlessly make a lot of shoppers question the veracity of near-anonymous online reviews.
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