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Are You Reading a Real Review: 7 Ways to Spot Fake Product Reviews

Are You Reading a Real Review: 7 Ways to Spot Fake Product Reviews

Do you always check out online reviews before buying?

If so, you aren't alone. 84 percent of people trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from people they know. However, some companies have begun to exploit this trust by creating fake reviews for products. This has become such a problem that it can be hard to know who to trust.

Don't worry, we are here to help! Read on for 7 tips that will teach you to spot a real review from a fake one.

1. Do a Comment Inspection

It's not smart to only rely on the star ratings you see. Check out the comments about the product and what other users are saying about them. Some key questions to think about while inspecting the comments are:

  • Are the reviewer's opinions on the product over-exaggerated?
  • Is the review too long, or is it too short?
  • Has the reviewer been specific about the product?
  • Has the reviewer included useful product information, and how much?
  • Has the reviewer repeated titles, information or phrases from other reviews?
  • Are there other reviews on the product by the same reviewer?

A good test is to think about what you'd say about a product that you either liked or disliked. Then, look at the other reviews and see how they match up to what you'd have said.

2. Be Careful of Generic Names

One of the most commons ways of generating fake reviews is via faceless accounts. A corporation will make or buy fake accounts and push out bulk reviews on its site via these.

If you want to spot those, then look for generic names like 'John Smith'. Some fake names will be obvious, especially if the account only uses numbers and letters. Also, these accounts are unlikely to have a profile picture most of the time.

Also, check the review's spelling and grammar. Outsourced fake reviews for international content are often written in poor English. Or they will not read how a normal user would be expressing themselves and their opinions.

3. Look For Suspicious Language

A real review shouldn't read like an infomercial. If it does, then this is a strong sign you're reading a fake review. An example of this could read: 'Once I purchased these weight loss supplements, I felt brand new. I instantly lost 10kg.'

You want to look out for reviews that have off formatting or they're written in full capitals. Be suspicious of those without punctuation too. Another thing to look out for is the repetition of phrases and certain words.

If different reviews are using the same phrases and words, it'ls likely they are from one source. The party faking reviews is likely to have directed the writer to include them.

A lot of fake reviews will over-use the words 'I' and 'me'. When people aren't telling the truth, they'll build credibility by using personal pronouns more. These people will often use more verbs too.

4. Check Out What Other Products the Reviewers Purchased

Many marketplace sites show other things reviewers bought at the bottom of the page. You can use this to determine if the reviews are real or not.

If they have bought a lot of similar items, or a lot of random items this could be dodgy. They might be getting their items for free in exchange for good reviews. You'll need to use your judgment based on the type of product you're viewing.

For example, it's not likely that someone would need to buy 5 torches recently. Nor is it likely that they'd then give them all good reviews.

In comparison, someone whose passion is cooking would be likely to buy 5 cookbooks in a short time span. It's likely that they would then give these cookbooks varied ratings and feedback.

5. Check for Verified Purchases

Reviews with verified purchases are more reliable than those anonymous ones. But it's important to note that sellers can still influence them.

The marketplace has to confirm that the reviewer purchased the product through them. The review then gets marked with a varified purchase stamp. A non-verified review means that the marketplace couldn't confirm the reviewer purchased the item from them or the price they paid for it.

6. Look at the Reviewer's Other Reviews

It's easy to see what other reviews a user has left. This information is often displayed on their profile once you click on it. If they are a regular reviewer and their style is similar, with not much repetition it's probably legit.

But you want to make sure that they haven't just reviewed everything with 5 stars. At best, this shows they aren't reliable, as not everything is perfect. At worst - they're a fake reviewer. If they've bought the same item many times, this could mean they're part of a review group.

7. Look More at Mid-range Reviews

It's more likely that a 3 or 4-star review is by an honest reviewer. So you want to pay close attention to these. They sit in the middle and aren't at either extreme of the scale.

Also, look for review patterns. If there are a bunch of great reviews after a bad one they're probably trying to bury it. It will also have an effect on their average score, so posting a bunch of good reviews after a bad one will help bring that back up again.

One thing you should have in mind is that it's a dog-eat-dog world. It's not uncommon for competitors to give 1-star reviews on products to bring average scores down. So use your judgment.

Know How to Spot a Real Review from a Fake One

So there you have it! If you follow these 7 tips, you'll be sure to spot a real review from a fake one.

Check the user posting it has a profile picture and isn't using a generic name. Also, check the quality of the language and grammar. You want to look out for repeated phrases and words too as this is a sign someone has instructed these reviews.

If you're in doubt, see what else the reviewer as bought and reviewed. And, always pay attention to the mid-tier reviews, as they are most likely from real users.

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