How Not To Be Fooled By Fake Reviews Online

The tough task with online shopping is that you have to rely on the seller’s description of the product to make sure it will work for you. Thanks to online reviews, many great ones of which you can find of the same e-commerce sites you’re shopping of, it becomes a lot easy to form your opinions. But there is a catch. Since the reviews are available to be scrutinised by the seller, bad opinions on the product can be hidden or even deleted. This makes the reviews just as artificial!

That’s not a good sign. Thank god for independent reviewing sites, right? Right? Well, not really.

Turns out, those online reviewing sites too have a lot to gain by convincing you to buy products. A lot of them tie up with e-commerce sites or sellers themselves to advertise their poor quality products to sell them. Each product they sell gets them a neat cut from the profit. It’s not evil to earn money, but there needs to be a fair disclosure which most of these websites deem unimportant enough to totally skip. It becomes tantamount to lying.

What Makes a Reliable Review?

Writing a reliable review takes time, patience and an analytical mind. It is absolutely essential to have actually used the products you are praising or dissing, but even this is a rarity in today’s review websites. In fact, there are gigs you can find on odd job websites like fiverr which get the buyer reviews of one’s chosen disposition on products you want to target. So, what makes a review reliable?

The very first quality has to be in-depth information. Only someone who has used the product in a practical setting will be privy to information like how well an electric over heats your soup, or how well a custom ROM performs over stock cellphone OS. Someone who can vouch for a product’s efficiency is ok, but it helps to know just how efficient something is at common tasks you may employ it in.

In the same vein of thought, it is also important to watch out for jargon. Someone throwing big technical terms, figures or statistics is likely to be distracting you and playing up a false image of having used the product when in fact they’re probably lifting the information from a retail website.

The second quality that makes easy work of figuring out a review is to see what they have to say about the product instead of what they are brandishing in the title. A consistent pattern with fake reviews and review websites is that the most expensive products ALWAYS tend to get the better rating. While it is understandable that the more money you pay, the better products you can expect, it is nothing short of fishy that reviewers place the most expensive product on the very top in every single review.

A good review will talk substance and not pick out adjectives from a freshly printed thesaurus to embellish a product’s write-up. If someone’s calling a coffee machine as the next big shift in food habits after sliced bread, stop reading immediately.

The third handy filter to sort out fake reviews is to read multiple reviews of the object. If two reviews disagree, you can continue your research assured that you’re not getting fooled. If two reviews agree, the product is likely to be the way the two describe it. But if they are too similar, to the extent of the similarity being eerie or uncanny, one of them is probably a fake reviewer who copied the other.

These three criteria are enough to judge how truthful a review is. Then of course, you have more common sense methods to find out if someone’s lying. For example, if someone’s overselling something, it’s probably lies he’s using. Hyperbole is almost always an indication of insufficiency.

How To Spot Fake Reviews?

Once you know what makes a good review, a fake review is easy to spot.

1.    If you can recognise clickbait, you can recognise a fake review. There are words and phrases that are catchy but if you look at things objectively, you wonder what they’re doing there. The fifth kitchen knife in a list will rarely ever surprise you.
2.    Reviews fundamentally are informed opinions. If there is too much objective information or too much ill-supplemented opinion, your review is probably a fake one.
3.    Did the reviewer actually buy the product? Websites like Amazon have a badge for verified purchase, but loopholes were soon discovered. So, prefer to read reviews with pictures attached. As for websites, ask them where they get their products from and what happens to them after being reviewed. If the answer seems silly (like “We donate the products”; nobody donates 7 mattresses or 15 dishwashers unless they shower in champagne), they’re probably fakers.

What To Do When You Spot a Fake Review?

There’s not much one can do when you see a fake review on a website. Amazon and other prominent e-retail websites let you flag reviews that you find are problematic. In general, you can cite the review as unhelpful if you think it is fake. It is best to be sure before going down this route, though.

The other option is especially useful when you deal with review websites. Comment on their websites citing reasons you think they are faking it. If the comments are unmoderated, you might be able to reach a few people. If they are moderated, however, you might find a better response from the reviewers through personal contacting.

If they are a website that routes you to Amazon or other e-retail websites so you can buy the products, it is only fair and ethical to expect the website to have a declaration of such affiliation prominently displayed on the website, or if it is a one-time gig of the sort, to put it in the article itself. If they don’t, they’re dumping people, and you can take the issue up with them.

Be sure to comment your opinions for us to read.

This post is written by Carla Thomas of Some of her best piece of work includes . To check out more just visit her blog.

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