Taking into account advancements in technology, paired with a virtual data room’s ability to store secure information and increase collaboration, it is not surprising VDRs are (and will continue to be) the way to conduct business. From finance to mergers and acquisitions, real estate, healthcare and more, VDRs have become a staple in how people all over the world gather and share information.
Consequently, more VDR use means more VDRs are popping up on the market and finding the right one can be difficult- especially with the escalating number of fake reviews being placed to promote specific VDRs. In this article, we examine how to identify fake reviews and other misleading VDR information to make your VDR selection a bit easier.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few fake review sites out there. According to a survey done by BrightLocal:
The reason is simple - providers want to have a 5-star rating.
While there are serverl useful reviews and review sites, there is no doubt during your VDR selection process you will come across fake reviews meant to promote specific products. Here are a few tips to help you identify what is real and what is fake:
1. The pros and cons of multiple providers are not discussed. If the site does not examine multiple providers, this is a red flag. Additionally, if the review does not examine the pros and cons for all of the providers, it is likely the review is biased and intentionally placed to promote a specific VDR.
2. A review that clearly favors one provider. Similarly, you should be suspicious of a review that seems to favor one provider. You might also notice this review - or similar reviews favoring this VDR - on multiple sites having been placed by the company. Formatting also comes into play here - are there reviews with similar formats, promoting this company on several sites? (Note: it is very rare for a VDR to receive a perfect five-star review.)
3. The reviews are not from verified customers. Perhaps it goes without saying, but you will want to look for sites that require reviews to be posted by verified customers - people who have actually used the products.
4. Lack of useful and critical information. If the reviews cannot speak to the specifics of the product (specific functions, what about the VDR was intuitive and what was more difficult to navigate), it is not only not a strong review, but also most likely fake.
5. Poor grammar and spelling. Oftentimes companies will buy reviews from countries where English is not the native language because these reviews are cheap.
6. All five-star reviews. Providers that have many five star reviews and a total of 5-star ratings are most likely hiding their negative reviews or posting fake five-star reviews. Again, five-star total ratings of virtual data rooms are very uncommon in the industry. Even leaders like Hubspot do not have more than a 4.6-star rating.
7. Small amount of reviews. Be wary of sites that list only one or two reviews for each platform. This could be a sign that the site and or reviews are fake, and they do not provide enough information to help users make an informed a decision.
According to BrightLocal’s survey
Consumers require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate (up from 34 in 2017)
Fake virtual data room review sites are the main source of virtual data rooms customer manipulation. Online, you can find multiple sites on the top of google search results that contain the same list of VDRs (mostly in the same order) and the same statistics, which ultimately and unfairly influence the consumer. These fake sites omit many VDR providers, while at the same time offering direct links to websites for the VDRs they are pushing. Here are a few of the worst offenders:
While we cannot say with 100% certainty that all the reviews on the following sites are true, they do not manipulate consumers the same way the above fake sites do. Most of the reviews on these sites come from individuals who have used the software and have specific, critical comments to share.
1. DealRoom - DealRoom is a VDR combined with an M&A project management platform. It is designed to make complex deals simple with its Agile approach; therefore, it has been utilized for billion-dollar transactions and is suitable for deals >50M where there is a greater need for diligence and integration process management.
2. FirmRoom - FirmRoom is a traditional VDR that works well for smaller M&A deals (<50M), but has also been utilized for real estate, healthcare, finance, and law.
3. Firmex - Firmex is a well known VDR known for its strong customer support.
4. Intralinks - Intralinks is another well known VDR. Similar to Firmex, it does not contain additional project management and M&A features.
5. Merrill - Again, Merrill is a traditional VDR, but stands out due to its highly ranked data room security. It is rolling out new features that may set it apart a bit more from Firmex and Intralinks.
6. Securedocs - Securedocs is a VDR that lacks specific M&A features and some other more basic features, such as full-text searching and the ability to track how much time viewers are spending reading/working on a document.
7. Sharefile - Sharefile boasts flat-rate pricing - this is one of the key benefits of using a VDR.
8. Caplinked - Finally, Caplinked is a VDR known for its clear dashboard and activity tracker.
Now that you know how to spot fake reviews and review sites, here is a practical blueprint for how to conduct your research and choose a VDR that is right for your business:
1. Consider your own unique business needs first. Having this list in mind as you conduct your research will allow you to be more efficient. Are there specific features you are looking for? How technologically savvy are your users?
2. Check review sites and go through different software providers. What are people saying about the VDR? Do specific companies seem to be planting fake reviews? A comprehensive and reputable review site, to begin with, is Software Advice. You can also use the trick of using the following format when google searching and checking the sites that appear as a result: “provider name +reviews”.
3. Check reviews about providers from their employees by utilizing sites such as Glassdoor.
4. Spend some quality time on each VDR providers’ site and, again, consider how intuitive the site is, as well as its visuals - these are often previews of what the software will be like. While exploring, be sure to watch demo videos and engage in live support chats so you can ask specific questions and survey the type of customer support and service you would receive if you went with this VDR.
5. Ask for a free trial. Most of the major VDR providers will offer a free trial.
6. Finally, talk to colleagues and see what they have used and liked.