Fake Reviews and How to Spot Them


Fake reviews are out there and some retailers and manufacturers are even joining in the fun. Brands want glowing reviews and some are even offering discounts just to get them. Ad agencies are also taking advantage of such reviews to get some buzz for their clients and they do this by masquerading as happy customers on sites like Yelp, Amazon, Google, and the like. What is scary is, many of these reviews appear so genuine that they can fool the best of us.

Let’s paint a picture here. You go to an online shop and see a product that you like. You are excited to make the purchase because you see glowing reviews. By the time the product arrives on your doorstep, you see it and it feels right. But then it doesn’t feel right because it doesn’t look anything like the one in the pictures at all! Now you ask yourself, “What about those wonderful reviews?” Chances are, those reviews are fake and they were posted there so that more people would buy the product.

Reviews are important to consumers and if you read reviews to help you decide whether you should purchase a product or not, you definitely don’t want to deal with fake entries on review sites. In fact, it is very likely that you will no longer be as enthusiastic about a product if you find out that most of its positive reviews are fake. Whether you’re a consumer who wants honest reviews or a business owner who just got malicious reviews, these tips on how to spot fakery online will be of help.

Language Matters

Real reviews offer praises but these praises are often in moderation and unlike fake reviews, real ones offer helpful information for would-be buyers. If you are looking at a review that calls the product with its model number or its formal product name, you are likely looking at a fake entry. If the review is vague and does not talk about anything specific or talks about irrelevant information, you are likely reading fakery.

Investigate the Reviewer

Did the reviewer really visit your shop? Did he or she really purchase your product? Are the details in the review accurate? Is his or her profile suspect? While you can easily investigate who the reviewer is, it is important to jot down your observations so you can submit them to the website where the review was posted. This type of information will be useful to the review site and can help you get the review removed.

Time Stamps

If multiple reviews were posted at about the same time, you are likely dealing with a company that paid another company to post positive reviews. If the product is relatively new but already has lots of reviews, you may be looking at reviews written by an ad agency.  It is important to remember that reviews do not come in that fast. It takes a while to accumulate real reviews since only a small portion of customers leave reviews for their purchases.

Mixed Reviews Are Good

If you only see 5-star reviews, you might be looking at fakes. Mixed reviews are good because some reviewers leave middle of the road reviews like a 3-star. Remember, even the best brands get 1-star reviews from time to time.