Money

Make it easy How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon

Illustration for article titled How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

Prime Day is fast approaching (again), and maybe you’re planning to spend it scouting good deals on off-brand tech like wireless earbuds and phone cables. But for all its convenience, online shopping’s biggest shortcoming is still the inability to see or test products first-hand before buying. So to feel like we know what we’re getting, we turn to user reviews—which, on Amazon at least, are increasingly untrustworthy.

Advertisement

It’s still always smart to check the ratings on Amazon products, but it’s worth taking your appraisal a step further. Some product reviews on the site are misleading (to be charitable), if not outright fake, and all are worth some scrutiny to determine whether they’re honest, because whether due user error, a glitch on Amazon’s end, or the increasing likelihood that the reviews have been bought and paid for, Amazon reviews shouldn’t be taken at face value.

How to tell if an Amazon review is fake

Mistakes happen, and sometimes reviews are accidentally linked to a different product. For example, a recent change to a Blu-ray player’s metadata on Amazon’s back end resulted in a crop of reviews from unrelated products showing up for the Blu-ray player for a short time, which altered its star rating until the error was fixed. Similarly, it’s not uncommon for a user to accidentally leave a review for the wrong product.

Illustration for article titled How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

There are, of course, more suspicious motives for unrelated reviews to appear on the wrong products, such as a seller attempting to artificially inflate (or deflate) a product’s star rating to attract buyers, or dissuade them from buying from a competitor. And even if the review is for the correct listing, there’s no shortage of reasons as to why it may be fake or misleading—whether that’s as part of a review-for-pay racket; “review bombing” campaigns to aimed at changing a product’s rating; ads masquerading as reviews; or those curious positive product reviews that include a one-star rating because the reviewer wants to “send a message” about shipping taking too long or some other aspect of the transaction that doesn’t apply to the product itself. Whatever the case, there are ways to determine whether a products’ reviews are trustworthy.

  • Actually read the reviews: It’s often easy to spot a fake review based on how it reads. If a reviewer seems to have a wildly different experience than those reflected in other reviews, making extremely positive or negative claims, it’s probably untrustworthy. The same goes for if a review spends a little too much time recommending an obscure alternative, but doesn’t offer a fair comparison or comment on the product the review is for in the first place. And if there’s an abundance of one-star or 5-star reviews, but the text for each review is barely longer than a sentence (or even just a word or two), that’s another telltale sign of fakes.
  • Look for “verified purchase”: Reviews from users who actually bought the product will have a “verified purchase” badge next to their name. There’s a good chance these are legit ratings/reviews, though it’s not a certainty, given some unscrupulous sellers will offer “refunds” in exchange for 5 star reviews.
  • Read the product Q/A: These often answer common questions, and answers from users who bought the product will again have the “verified purchase” tag.
  • Read non-Amazon reviews: Seeking out off-site reviews, especially from professional reviewers/critics/websites that you trust, is always smart. It can help you establish a basic idea of how the product is reviewing elsewhere, and help you appraise user reviews elsewhere. However, just because a reviewer and a user come to different conclusions doesn’t mean that they’re lying. Reviews are inherently contextual and subjective, so don’t throw out an opinion simply because it goes against the wider consensus.
Advertisement

Uncover fake Amazon reviews with FakeSpot or ReviewMeta

Illustration for article titled How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

Advertisement

Even if you know the signs of a fake review, you’ll sometimes run into reviews or product scores that you just can’t quite determine the legitimacy of. In those instances, we suggest using the FakeSpot app. Fakespot will analyze the reviews and/or product ratings for a listing on Amazon, appraising each review and letting you know how real or fake they appear to be (it also works with Best Buy, Walmart, Steam and Sephora online stores). FakeSpot is available on the web, and on Android and iOS. As an alternative, ReviewMeta works in much the same way.

Report false and misplaced Amazon reviews

The “Report Abuse” button for Amazon reviews

The “Report Abuse” button for Amazon reviews
Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

Advertisement

The reality is, one or two fake or misleading reviews are going to show up on just about any popular product. These can be reported, but a few false ratings likely won’t change a listing’s overall score. However, if you notice a particularly egregious number of fake reviews for a product, or you notice that reviews for one product are showing up elsewhere, you can use the “report abuse” button next to a review to bring them to Amazon’s attention.

This article was originally published in 2019 and updated on June 17, 2021 with additional context and links and to align with current Lifehacker style.  

Advertisement

  

Source link: lifehacker.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *