How to Spot Fake Online Reviews

How to Spot Fake Online Reviews

Nowadays, most people considering making major purchases are doing a lot of online research to confirm and compare features, as well as to check prices and availability before laying out the actual cash.

One area of interest has been in reading product reviews, if for no other reasons than to see just want someone has to say about a particular item.  However, not all reviews are legitimate, and may not have been written by actual customers.  Sometimes the review information provided may been written by marketers, manufacturers, and/or even companies selling a competitive product (where they are trying to slam the competition).

Some general things to look at are:

  • The comments are not listed the way that a person normally speaks, with the language being overly precise.

  • The reviewer keeps mentioning the manufacturers product number and/or name over and over again.

  • The user writing the review only has reviews for similar items in the same product line or for the same manufacturer and used similar language for each review.  If so, you could be looking at comments from a marketer, or robo-responder software.

  • There are overly gushy comments about the product, with no specifics.

  • There are overly simplistic negative comments that have nothing to do with the actual product (e.g. "Shipping took forever!", "XXX Brand Sucks!", etc.).

  • The review has a link to a competitors website. 

You might want to pay more attention to the middle of the road comparisons rather than the extremes.  Some examples of the legitimae and suspect are:

Guitar model XXXX

"The natural reddish Koa wood is beautifully offset by the Abalone shell Rosette, fret markers and bindings. The tone is good, and it has quality electronics,  Out of the box, the action at the higher frets is a little too high for my liking.  I thought this was a good buy based on the overall features and price.

Overall, I’d rate this as a (4 out of 5)"

As compared to the following review…

Guitar model XXXX

"This guitar rocks! Go XXXX…

You can’t beat XXXX.  All others suck!"

XXXX Rules!

Give this one 5 out of 5 big ones!"

For more details on this topic, see the following article:

30 Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews.

The Consumerist’s parent company, Consumer Media LLC, is a subsidiary of Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, and, and the nation’s leading not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization.


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