You can't trust every product with lots of 5 stars reviews on Amazon; many of them don't have 100% genuine reviews.
Fake reviews are a common practice on all online services, and Amazon isn't an exception. Although you are a little careful, you can skim fake reviews and make a sound buying decision on genuine reviews.
Truth be told, reviews are necessary for less popular sellers to launch their new products. No one will try a product on Amazon with zero or a low number of reviews, no matter how good the product may seem. So sellers buy fake reviews to get an early boost or keep the product fresh with occasional fake reviews. Sellers even go to the lengths of buying negative fake reviews for their direct competitors to deter the competition.
If you don't want to be fooled by such practices, then I can help you identify fake reviews on Amazon by understanding how fake reviews are done and what are some key giveaways.
How fake reviews on Amazon work?
Before I tell you how to identify fake reviews, it's good to know how the fake review market work. Fake reviews can be easily bought online for a small price, free product, or discounted product. Amazon has been cracking down on such practices for a long time. It has even sued websites providing such services and even individual fake reviewers. However, completely nullifying fake reviews is impossible, and sellers and fake reviewers always find mutual ground to continue this practice.
Just look at the websites like Reviewsub or Amzon Review; they let anyone buy fake reviews cheaply or get it free in exchange for a fake review of their own. Even if these websites are closed down, no one stops sellers and fake reviewers from making agreements privately or over social media, like this Facebook group.
Previously, unverified (product not purchased) fake reviews were common, but Amazon has forced all unverified reviews to the bottom by default, so they have less impact. Therefore, now the reviewer must buy the product to add a fake review. Usually, the reviewer returns the product to the seller after reviewing if he has charged a separate fee. However, fake reviews are also given in exchange for free products or big discounts on the products.
As fake reviewing is actually a side job for these reviewers, they review dozens of products every month and usually don't have a personal interest in those products. This causes them to follow identifiable patterns, which anyone with some knowledge can distinguish from genuine reviews. We will be taking advantage of the same patterns and some other things to identify fake reviews; let's check them out.
Note: Any of the identifying methods below can't individually confirm a review is fake. You must combine them to confirm if the review is fake or genuine.
A fake reviewer usually uses a generic tone to review a product as they don't know much about the product's technicalities. So they use words like “good”, “amazing”, “Awesome”, “worth the money”, etc., to describe the product. Some more advanced reviewers may go into deeper details, but in the end, they won't add any further information that isn't already available in the product description.
Fake reviews are either every short with hardly a line worth of content or consist of a max of 1-2 paragraphs. Fake reviews are not very long because the reviewer has less experience with the product, and they have multiple reviews to write. And if the seller is only interested in a quick 5-star rating and doesn't incentivize the reviewer much, they will leave a very short and generic fake review.
Sellers always instruct the reviewer to either leave a 5-star rating or 1-start rating depending on whether they want a positive review or negative. These ratings impact the overall rating, so it becomes necessary to give these ratings. It's not a good giveaway of fake reviews as mostly genuine reviewers also leave the same rating, but it's worth considering along with other methods.
Look for similar reviews
Many sellers provide a template for fake reviewers to craft their review around. If you notice multiple reviews highlighting the same information just worded differently, it could mean fake reviews.
Many of the fake reviewers reside in third-world countries and don't have English as their first language. If you see multiple broken English reviews, it could mean that the seller has paid for those reviews.
Check time stamps
This is actually a really good way to find fake reviews as sellers usually ask multiple people to give a fake review at the same time. Such service providers offer packages of 50 or 100 fake reviews for a product with a set price, so usually, those reviews are also done in quick succession. Set the review filter to “Most recent” and scroll through. If there are many 5-star or 1-star reviews posted over a short period, like 1-3 days, then there is a possibility those reviews are fake.
Check reviewer's history
It isn't practical to review each reviewer's profile to see if they are a fake reviewer. However, if a specific review is really standing out and directly affecting your decision making, then it's worth to check out the reviewer's history. Below are some common things you need to look for in reviewer profiles to confirm they are a fake reviewer or not:
- The reviewer consistently reviews products, like more than 5 products a week.
- The reviewer always gives a 5-star or 1-star rating.
- Similar length of every review.
- Using generic tone in every review instead of going into technicalities.
If multiple of the above hints are in the reviewer profile, then it probably means they give fake reviews, and you should not trust their review.
Use fake reviews detector website
Many websites can scan reviews of a particular Amazon product using their own algorithm to detect fake reviews and offer more information about the reviews. These services aren't 100% correct every time, but they can give you a good idea of what you are dealing with before investigating a product for fake reviews.
I like Fakespot and thereviewindex for this purpose as they provide a deep analysis of all the reviews. You can copy the full URL of the product on Amazon and paste it into the search bar of any of those websites, and you will get your analysis. Below is the information you can get from both the websites:
Depending on the probability of fake reviews, Fakespot gives a rating to the searched product from A to F. Usually, A and B rating isn't a sign of alarm. This means that at least 80% of the reviews are of high quality. The reviewers don't have a suspicious history. Although any rating below this threshold should raise suspicion, and you should investigate the reviews personally.
Like products, Fakespot also gives a rating to the product's seller based on all listed products. If the seller often buys fake reviews for his products, then Fakespot can tell you whether the seller is trustable or not. If both the seller and the product have a bad rating, it's almost confirmed that the reviews are rigged.
You can also install the Fakespot Chrome extension if you want more intuitive access.
This one can be a little slow to work as it generates the report on demand instead of having an updatable index like Fakespot, but it offers a profound analysis of reviews. The website has a Spam Test section where it checks for fake reviews based on 5 factors. This includes review count per reviewer, high-velocity reviewers, inactive reviewers, unverified review streak, and reviewer history overlap.
As you may have guessed, thereviewindex doesn't help detect fake reviews; it actually detects fake reviewers. So if you find a high number of alerts in the spam section, then that means fake reviewers are reviewing that product.
The website also has a Review Summary section that does a fantastic job of creating custom categories out of review content to learn about different aspects of the product. For example, it will categorize reviews by compatibility, ease of use, space, reliability, durability, price, return, and even specific built-in features of the product.
thereviewindex also has a Chrome extension if you want to open the analysis right from the Amazon page quickly.
Don't forget to report the fake review
The above information should be enough to detect most of the fake reviews. When you find a fake review, don't forget to report it so Amazon may take action against it. If your report gets accepted, then Amazon will remove that review from the product and save others from falling for it. There is also a possibility Amazon may block a seller if too many fake reviews are detected on their products.
It's straightforward to report a review, click on the Report Abuse button at the bottom of the review, and then confirm the report in the new window that opens up.
As I said before, you should combine all of the tips above to identify Amazon's fake reviews. I will personally recommend you first search the product on Fakespot or thereviewindex to get an idea of what type of product and seller you are dealing with and then personally judge reviews if you are suspicious.
Furthermore, it would be best if you also filtered reviews by 4 or 3-star rating as those reviews are most critical about the product features and usually don't have fake reviews.
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