Be Aware of Fake Reviews – Rise of Fake Reviews on Products
In the modern world of internet-heavy shopping, it is often the reviews of a product that act as the deal-breaker for most consumers. Popular online market platforms like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, eBay, Alibaba and countless others use a basic 5-star ranking system that allows their users to leave feedback about various products and services. While the majority of reviewers are regarded as at least partially unbiased, more and more businesses are falsifying the reviews on their products to increase sales.
Some business owners choose to personally write the fake reviews, while others rely on the help of specific websites dedicated exclusively to composing positive/negative ratings on demand. Consumers and small businesses alike are urged to exercise caution when studying the reviews of a product they are interested in buying.
How to spot fake reviews?
Study the language
According to an article published by NBC News, consumers should avoid products that have short, poorly written and overly excited or overly negative reviews. People who are hired to leave fake ratings are often required to repeat certain keywords in their text in agreement with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques, so be weary of the reviewer only addressing the product by its full listed name. Use of all caps in the title of the review and the main body should also be considered an instant red flag.
Make sure the reviewer is credible
If the reviewer leaves word-for-word identical reviews of similar products, there is a big possibility that his reviews carry little factual relevance. Watch out for usernames consisting only of numbers as they are most likely to be robots and not actual reviewers. Websites like Amazon have an option only to view reviews marked as an “Amazon Verified Purchase,” which filters out ratings made by individuals who have not purchased the product directly from Amazon.
Another solid strategy is to see if someone you personally known and trust has purchased the product in question and ask them about their experience. Their opinion will most likely be less biased than that of some random reviewer on the internet.
Be critical of products with devoted fanbases
While a strong fanbase for a particular brand/product usually serves as proof of quality, sometimes zealous love for a particular company can make fans write over-hyped reviews or even attack their brand’s competitor. A shining example of this would be the neverending war between console gamers using Microsoft’s X-Box One and Sony’s Playstation 4.
Recruit the help of software
Time.com suggests that its readers should use a website called Fakespot when shopping on Amazon or when using Yelp. By placing the link to a product or company, the user receives a letter grade once Fakespot’s algorithms finish analyzing the validity of the reviews. The grade directly depends on how many of the ratings are deemed to be fake by the software.
While being able to buy and sell online has granted greater functionality to both individual consumers and businesses, the risk of becoming a victim of dishonest marketing practices due to falsified reviews is still very much present. It is the buyer’s responsibility to remain prudent and to approach user-made ratings from a critical perspective. Hopefully, you will find the above-listed suggestions to be useful.