Whether you’re about to make a large purchase, book a hotel, have lunch or dinner. Online reviews have quickly become an integral first place to check for consumers.
There are a multitude of review platforms, right down to using the retailers own reviews. The problem is there’s no guarantee that a glowing review is the real deal. So which reviews can you trust and can you spot a fake review?
Before discussing how to spot a fake, let’s establish who would post a fake review.
1. The retailer
2. Disgruntled ex-employees of the brand or product
3. Disgruntled customers
There are a few things to look for when trying to spot a fake review
- There’s no information about the reviewer or the reviewer profile is quite empty
There is some credibility when the site matches a review up with a purchase.Users who only post a small number of reviews or have no profile information or social connections are more likely to be fibbing the problem with sites such as productreview.com.au is that user profiles are empty apart from a nickname so it’s hard to trust a review written on these types of platforms.prodreview.com.au have sidestepped this issue by only publishing reviews where a real experience, purchase or use of service has occurred and it’s published by a team member of prodreview.com.au so you know each review is certified to be real.
- Reviews are extreme and are either mainly five stars or 1 star with no in between
- Several Reviews are posted at the same time or within minutes of each other
Reviews that are posted at the same time or a few minutes in between can indicate a company has paid for a batch of reviews so look at the time stamp of when the product or service review was posted. This is not always the case as at prodreview.com.au we post the reviews on social media and this may spur on consumers to leave comments usually minutes between.One of the reviews we posted was on Coles, this activated 10 people to respond to various comments within minutes.
- Reviews that don’t go into much detail
The research found that fake hotel reviewers included less description of the physical space of a guest room or other parts of a hotel; instead, they often talked about the people they were supposedly travelling with or the reason for their trip. (They also used the word “I” a lot more.) The biggest tell-tale sign is “talking about irrelevant details, such as mentioning members of their family.”
- Reviews are riddled with small words
Scientists have discovered that it takes more brainpower to tell a lie than a truth; when we’re telling a lie, our vocabulary tends to suffer because we’re already expending mental energy on the fake review. As a result, fake reviews are characterized by shorter words.
- Reviews are short in length
The shortness of a review can be suspect, an indicator of a real review is that someone has taken the time to write something meaningful. This is especially considering that review factories only pay a few dollars per review, so there is plenty of incentive to keep it short and sloppy and get mass reviews out.
- Check the history of the reviewer
People who have written only one review on the site or people who write only five-star reviews are likely to be fakesNotice how we did not mention reviews with poor language and or punctuation maybe fake. From our own experiences, we’ve found that people, where their first language is not english, do write reviews too, and this would be wrong to try and discount a review based on this.
Chet Carter is an Professional Journalist of 25 years, but has worked with a range of businesses giving him in-depth understanding of many different industries.