How to spot a fake review online

17th May 2019

Online fake reviews outnumber legitimate ones; and with 97% of shoppers relying on customer review to make purchases, this presents a huge challenge for brands and ecommerce websites.

According to a study by the Washington Post, 61% of all electronic reviews on Amazon – which is the UK’s largest online retailer - are fake.

“We know that millions of customers make informed buying decisions everyday using Customer Reviews. We take this responsibility very seriously and defend the integrity of reviews by taking aggressive action to protect customers from dishonest parties who are abusing the reviews system…” Amazon said in a statement. 

Amazon also uses investigation teams, machine learning and automated technology to analyse reviews 24/7. It is also working with social media sites to blog fake reviews at their source.

A fake review may be used to discredit a product or brand, it may also be used to make the product out to be better than it is. Fake reviewers are sometimes paid by brands to leave fake reviews, some are even gifted products in return for positive comments.

Next time you’re online shopping and you see a review, ask yourself: 

  • Have I seen this brand/product before?

Research from Which? Suggests that unknown brands are more likely to be affected by fake reviews. Keep this in mind.

  • Have I seen that review already?

If you spot reviews with the same phrases, reviewer or titles, be suspicious. 

  • Is this a verified purchase?

Look out for a verified purchase badge or tick, online retailers like Amazon display these. Unverified reviews are harder to fake.

  • When were these reviews posted? 

Take the time to look at the dates of different reviews – if they appear on the same day or in a short period of time, there’s a chance they may not be real.

  • Has this person written reviews before?

Check out the reviewer’s previous reviews, this will be a good indication of whether that person is legitimate or not.

Struggling to get good reviews? Here’s how to encourage customer reviews (and actually get them).

Do you have lots of reviews but you’re not sure what to do with them? Here are 5 creative ways you can promote them.

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