Online reviews are something that people across the globe have come to trust. Research indicates that more than 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. And of these, 76% trust what they read. That’s in spite of the fact that reviews are left across the web by complete strangers. Decades ago, it used to be that people would get feedback about particular products and services from their friends, neighbors and relatives. Now, a person in the United States may be guided in their purchasing decision by someone in Bangladesh. Truly, the entire world has become interconnected.
Fake online reviews
Unfortunately, the phenomenon of fake online reviews threatens to erode the importance of reviews in the eyes of consumers. If someone convinces you to buy a product, and the product later turns out to be a dud, chances are high that you are going to go back online to leave a negative review. Negative reviews are a subject that we have previously covered on this site. Before going on, we need to first define fake online reviews.
Fake online reviews are reviews that are made by people who have not actually tried out the product or service that they are talking about.
Now, you may think that the phenomenon of fake online reviews is minor. However, that is hardly the case. Check out the article in the provided link for more on the people behind fake online reviews. One of the things that you will realize after reading the article is that there are no saints when it comes to the cutthroat environment in which businesses operate today. So, from brands to people who are paid, there is a rather troubling increase in the number of people who are engaging in the practice of giving false feedback.
Why do people leave fake online feedback?
There are a few reasons why people leave fake online reviews:
- For monetary gain: Some people do so because they are paid by unscrupulous businesses to leave glowing feedback across the web. It’s actually a way of making a living for some of these people. Others do it because they wish to receive free products from the companies in question.
- For fun: There are people who leave fake reviews out there simply because they can.
- The competitive spirit: Some businesses solicit false online feedback because they wish to stay ahead of their competitors. This feedback may be in the form of positive reviews left on their own pages, or negative feedback that is left on competitors’ pages.
- Angry customers: Some people do it because they are angry with a particular company, for one reason or the other. They thus become self-appointed crusaders, with the task of making sure that the company is taken down a notch.
Identifying fake online reviews
So, how do you identify fake online reviews? To be frank, identifying false feedback tends to be rather difficult for most people. For brands, the entire thing is a little more straightforward. It’s easy for a company to know that a person who has left a scathing review is not one of its companies. But for consumers, determining whether or not a review is genuine is a bit more troubling. Indeed, up to 84 percent of consumers confess to being unable to identify fake online reviews. Fortunately, there are a few things that consumers can do to identify false online reviews:
- Overuse of personal pronouns “I” and “me”: Most people overuse personal pronounces when trying to convince people about one thing or the other. This is the first tip when it comes to identifying fake reviews. Let’s face it: most people actually do not have the motivation to provide online feedback. If you come across a review in which someone is positively gushing about a product or service, then you can be sure that it is fake!
- Reviews that are left by people using generic names: If you come across a review that was left by John Smith, or John Doe, as an example, that is clearly a fake review.
- Reviewers who have no photos on their profiles: This is another sure way of identifying fake reviews. Admittedly, there are some genuine people out there who are reticent about putting their photos on the Internet. However, in most instances, people who do this are those that do not wish to be identified.
- Photos of models on profiles: Some of the people behind fake online reviews appear to have caught on to the fact that they can easily be identified should they neglect to put a photo on their profile. To counter this, they use photos of models. Understandably, it may be difficult for an ordinary person to see through this deception. But, if you see a review that was left by a person whose profile image appears to be too good to be true, then you should probably distrust that review.
- Check the timing of the reviews: There are companies out there that actually sell fake online reviews. However, most of them do not bother taking the time to make sure that the reviews that they are paid to leave appear at least half genuine. The timing of reviews can be another giveaway when it comes to identifying fake reviews. If a company suddenly got a flood of reviews on Yelp or on any other platform at the same time, then you can be sure that these reviews were purchased.
- Are phrases repeated in different reviews? It’s easy enough to identify if reviews have been left by one person. Usually, people write in a particular way, and if you check a couple of reviews, you may notice phrase repetitions in them.
- Bad grammar: Most people outsource the crafting of fake reviews to people in Asia or some other place where English is not the native language. You can identify this type of fake review through bad grammar and misspellings.
- Only trust reviews from verified purchases: Most platforms out there show if a review has been left by a verified customer. These are the kind of reviews that you should be on the lookout for.
Anyway, it takes a bit of work to identify fake online reviews. The good news is that with a bit of care, you can learn to protect yourself against the phenomenon.
Guard yourself against fake reviews. Book a demo with eKomi now!