In an age where reviews are key when it comes to how millennials and many others spend their hard-earned money, fake reviews have been cropping up left and right.
No, it’s not ok or even legal to hire someone to leave fake reviews for your company, but people still do it. So, how do you pick out what’s real and what’s fake?
There are some great websites that will help you such as Fakespot, but there are also tips you can keep in mind as you browse when you don’t want to go to the extra effort of plugging products into searches!
Check the Language
Fake reviews are most often found in the one-star or five-star category. Companies paying to bump up their sales or bring down a competitor’s sales will be looking for extreme praise or criticism. On a website like Amazon, start off by only looking at two to four-star reviews. Many fake reviewers are also paid per word, so their reviews may be quite short, and often in slightly “off” language. For example, when discussing price they will mention the currency while an average American leaving the same review would simply state the price.
Check the Timing
A surefire way to spot fake reviews is if a product or service has received multiple reviews in a short timespan. When a company is lacking reviews and pays to get a batch online right away, the reviewer they’ve hired will post them in swift succession from multiple fake accounts. While there are a lot of avid reviewers out there, most consumers wait until they really have something to say to leave their own review and so a constant stream of legitimate reviews is a highly unlikely occurrence.
Creep the Reviewer
Does their profile photo look like it came out of a picture frame or an art book? Take a look at the reviewer’s profile and see what sort of reviews they’re leaving. If the products are all over the place and reviews are constant, that’s a good sign that they’re a fake account. You can even search their full name if they’re using it on Google and see what sort of web presence they have. A reverse image search will reveal if that photo they’re using is a stock photo, or real. In the case of Amazon, you can also check to see if they in fact purchased the product they are reviewing. If not? Likely fake.
While angry, negative reviews can be fun to read, a lot of the time they’re fake. A one-star with emotional language that doesn’t really tell you much about the product itself is likely a freelancer, or friend/family member of a direct competitor trying to bring the competition down a peg.
Does a review sound like someone’s mother wrote it? No one’s that devoted to their vacuum cleaner. Switch to some middle-ground reviews and find the real, un-biased opinion.