5 Tips to Spot Fake Reviews

5 Ways to Spot Fake ReviewsYou probably noticed that while busy shopping online, on Cyber Monday, you’ll see lots of user reviews on various products.  While the majority of those reviews do come from real users like yourself, who are passionate enough to share their opinions on a product, many of them could be fake, left by the vendors themselves to either promote their product or, in many cases, smear competitors.
In some extreme cases, most, if not all of the user reviews on a product could be planted.  While it’s exceedingly difficult to absolutely prove that a review is faked, here are a few tips on spotting those that aren’t from real users. These will come in handy — not just today, but whenever you go shopping online.
1.  Singing of praises with no downsides; or a total dismissal of any good qualities
When was the last time you approved of a product unquestioningly without any negatives? No matter how good an item might be, chances are it also has one or two shortcomings, however minor.  That said, a five-star review with unqualified compliments, such as “perfect” or “absolutely the best,” that offers no downside to balance those opinions, is very likely a plant.
Conversely, chances are also good that a review that dismisses a product in absolute terms is from either a competitor or a fanboy of another brand.
Suggestion: On any review system (online or restaurants or yelp) where users leave reviews, go with the number of 4’s and then 3’s. The 4’s although a bit lengthy, have a distinct PRO/CON section. Then move on to 3’s. It’s better to skip the 5’s & the 1’s.
2.  Reviewers’ names
Reviewers’ names are also telling in determining whether a review is legit. Generally, fake reviewers don’t take the time to create real names and tend to go with variations of another screen name, or choose meaningless random names, such as “makesjam789”, “bff1345”, “iljc2012”, and so forth.
3.  Review dates
The date of the review offers lots of information about how genuine it is. If you have a number of five-star reviews on the same product, posted on or around the same date and written in a similar tone, chances are they are counterfeit. Also, if a user review professing extensive hands-on experience is published on the release date of a product or shortly after, it’s also likely a ruse. It takes a long time for a typical end-user to compile real-life experience with a product. Typical of this are the user reviews on the iPhone 5, which were left days before the phone even came out.
4.  A single review per account
Generally, you have to create a user account to write a review. If you see an account that has posted just one single review for a particular product, or reviews only products from a single vendor, it’s highly likely that it’s a fake review. In this case, the date the account was created and the date of the review are also very telling, especially when they are the same.
5.  The tone of the review
The tone of the review is probably the most telling factor when assessing how real a review is. If you spot a review that reads like a press release or a commercial, offering information about features and extolling how superior the product is when compared with its competition, that review is most likely planted by the vendor.
Note that real users talk more about reliability, performance, and overall value, and they are almost never happy about high costs.
How about you? Have you ever left a user review? If you have more tips on how to spot fake reviews, please leave them in the comments section.

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