Fake reviews. They’re all around us, and it often feels they’re unavoidable. Consumers rely on reviews to validate purchasing decisions. However, what do you do when you suspect a review to be a fake? How do you even spot a fake review, to begin with?
Frankly, there’s no definitive way of spotting fakes from the real deal. A “good” fake review will look just as genuine as a legitimate review. That said, there are a few red flags to be on the lookout for that may tip you off to potentially fake reviews.
Let’s look at three tips to keep you ahead of the curb when it comes to spotting the ever-elusive fake review.
- Be on the lookout for suspicious language
Often fake reviewers tend to exaggerate. As a result, many fake reviews come across like a bad late-night infomercial.
For example: “These ear warmers were exactly what I was looking for. They kept my entire body warm and changed my life.”
The example is a bit exaggerative, but you should get the point. Reviews that sound over the top and ridiculous should throw up a few red flags. Also, be on the lookout for reviews written in all caps or with odd formatting (i.e., I lOvE THesE SungLASses).
- Look for admitted bias
Some people will admit to not having used a product before reviewing it. Their reasoning? They’re so confident in the quality of the product that they’re more than happy to leave a five-star review before it ever touches their hands.
Even if they promise to change their review when the product arrives, there’s no possible way the initial review can be trusted.
While this type of review doesn’t exactly fall under fake reviews in a malicious sense, they’re still fake in that the user isn’t providing a genuine experience; merely a perceived one.
- If possible, look at what else the reviewer has bought in the past
Some marketplaces like Amazon allow you to view past products purchased by reviewers. This should give you some semblance of reviews that are real vs. those that are potentially fake. If the reviewer has a massive list of past purchases that are entirely unconnected to one another, there’s a chance they’re being sent free gifts in exchange for positive reviews.
The exact opposite may also be true as well. For instance, a few red flags should go up if someone bought ten separate sets of ear warmers. There’s a very real possibility that individual is being paid to review these items.
While there’s no way to confirm this without an in-depth investigation, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What do you do when you encounter fake reviews?
If you strongly suspect a review of being fake, most online review platforms provide a way for users to report or flag the offending review in question. That way, you’ll increase the chances of that account being investigated.
As consumers, we rely on reviews to paint a fair and honest picture of products and services to help us make purchasing decisions. Fake reviews muddy the waters, making it difficult to know who to trust.
If you encounter a fake review, do the right thing, and report it. While there’s no way to eradicate fake reviews completely, ever small win forces businesses and sellers who engage in these fraudulent practices to be just a little more honest.