How to spot fake online reviews when shopping online
Fake online reviews, like fake news, have become increasingly popular today much to the detriment of online shoppers everywhere. As you prepare for the holiday shopping season, you will need to be wary of fake online reviews. Online reviews are important because they tend to influence your purchase decisions. Now more than ever, online shoppers are turning to online reviews to make decisions about which brands or businesses deserve their hard-earned cash.
Individuals approach online reviews like testimonials. Because previous customers’ experiences straight from the mouth of a real person often serve as personal recommendations for online shoppers, being able to trust online reviews is more critical than you might think.
What exactly are fake online reviews?
If you are a regular online shopper, you have probably encountered fake online reviews at least once or twice at some point in your shopping journey. Though it might be hard to tell at times, fake reviews are all around you.
A fake online review is any review that is designed to give you a false impression about a service or product so that you purchase that product regardless of its quality. Fake reviews can either be paid for by the seller or spitefully placed on a website by the competition.
Fake reviews are fake because they typically fail to accurately describe the state of the product or goods on sale. There are a lot of inauthentic and fake reviews online and part of the reason why is because businesses today have to maintain a high rating and receive positive reviews if they want to attract and keep their customers.
The pressure to succeed, as well as the voluntary shoppers willing to write positive reviews on behalf of any buyer, further makes the problem worse than it would appear. Therefore, if you want to make the most of your online shopping experience, it is important for you to be on the look out for fake online reviews whenever you shop.
How to spot fake online reviews
Online-review sites are wildly popular and here is why:
- 92% of online shoppers trust recommendations from individuals whom they know.
- Recommendations that are given via word of mouth are the main factors behind 20 to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
To tell if an online review is legitimate or not, here are is how to spot them:
Look at the language and grammar
One of the best ways to tell if a review is legitimate or not is by checking the language. Fake online reviews tend to be extra flowery in when it comes to the praises. An authentic review should supply you with specific information regarding a product or service. Be suspicious of reviews that are filled with formal information such as product names, model numbers or any other marketing jargon.
If the review that you come across is characterized by marketing speak and superlatives about how great the features of the product are, then it has probably been written by an individual with a vested interest in the success of the product.
Check if the reviewer is verified
The best online shopping sites like Amazon go out of their way to cross reference user reviews with their buyer database just to make sure that the information provided by the review is correct. The most reliable sellers are therefore the ones that have been verified. Please note that although most reviews given on Amazon are reliable, not all of them are. You should be skeptical of any reviews that are given by one-time shoppers. Most online shopping sites permit other shoppers to click on a reviewer’s name so that other shoppers can learn more about other reviews they’ve done.
Watch out for exaggeratedly enthusiastic ratings
Excessively fervent or overly negative reviews should immediately serve as red flags. Fake reviews tend to rely on extreme language to make a point. Consequently, if you come across a review that states, ‘this is the best product I have ever used’, you should probably take pause. The best reviews to rely on are those that fall somewhere in the middle because they tend to offer a more honest assessment of things.
Check social media accounts
Some shopping sites sometimes require commenters to post reviews by using their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. Thus, it makes it easier for you to put a face to the comment. If you come across a review that is suspicious, always click on that person’s account to check out their profile to see how “real” or how fake that reviewer is.
What to do if you come across a fake online review
If you spot a fake online review, it is entirely possible to report or flag it to the marketplace as an inappropriate review. If you are shopping from a reliable site, try and alert that site. If the online store is worth its salt, it should apologize and may even take the steps to look into the reviewer that has been flagged.
People trust opinions posted online. Reviews usually endear a product and/or establishment in the eyes of consumers. So, reviews are essential because they boost credibility and trust. Although it can be very difficult to decipher which online reviews are fake or not, these subtle tips should make it easier for you to spot the fakes.