Amazon is an online shopping giant and, like many other people, you as well as your friends and family probably count on Amazon to be a source for most of your purchases. That also means that you trust the information the platform offers about the products. Nobody wants to order one thing and receive something completely different.
The problem is that Amazon is cluttered with fake reviews that affect product ratings. So you can never be 100% sure if you’re buying a quality product. However, there are techniques and online tools that you can use to spot fake reviews before you make a decision on buying an item from Amazon.
What’s a Fake Review on Amazon?
At a time when the internet’s littered with fake news we now also have fake reviews to deal with. A fake review is exactly what it sounds like – a dishonest review posted by the company behind the product, a paid employee, or someone else who is biased and has interest in selling this product.
The number of people ready to write fake reviews is terrifying. Facebook has dozens of groups that trade fake Amazon reviews for money. That’s tens of thousands of Facebook users ready to publish fake reviews for products in exchange for a refund or another form of a financial incentive.
Why Are Fake Reviews Dangerous?
You would think that a couple of fake reviews on Amazon wouldn’t make any difference on a large scale. However, hundreds and thousands of those reviews can skew the ratings. While they boost sales of the product, fake reviews also hurt the sales of competitors, even though those competitors might have a better quality product.
If you’re someone who often goes on Amazon to get the best deal, you know that every popular brand with high-quality products has no-name equivalents. A generic no-name product will often sell at a much lower price (almost always due to lower quality). A low price tag, together with 5-star reviews, might convince you to buy it.
In reality, there’s a good chance that those reviews are fake, and you’ll get a product that won’t match its high-quality branded equivalent.
What’s Amazon’s Response?
Amazon’s only visible measure in place that’s supposed to address the fake reviews concerns is Amazon’s Verified Purchase label. If you see the reviews labeled that way, that means that Amazon verified the person who wrote the review actually bought the product on Amazon and didn’t receive it at a discounted price. In reality, that doesn’t filter out even a half of illegitimate reviews on the platform.
If you want to be able to tell fake reviews from legitimate ones on Amazon, there are a few signs that you should look for. You can also use third-party tools to weed out fake product reviews on Amazon.
How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon
There are a number of strategies that you can use to identify fake reviews on Amazon.
- Carefully read the reviews. This advice might seem trivial, but many users skim through reviews, only paying attention to the product ratings. If you actually spend time reading the reviews, it’s not difficult to tell if they’re fake. A fake review will either be overly positive without giving any specific details about the product. Or it might spend too much time delving into the strengths of the product and trying to contradict other negative reviews on the site.
- Check when the reviews were posted. If the product only has recent reviews, especially if they seem not too spaced out, that’s a big red flag.
- Look for a mixture of different ratings. When the product has a lot of 5-star reviews or 1-star reviews that don’t specify the reason for rating the product in such a manner, those reviews are most likely fake. Look for a mixture of moderately positive product reviews instead. 3 or 4-star reviews with an exception of an occasional 2-star review is a good combination.
- Check the reviews for Amazon’s Verified Purchase label.
- Look up the product outside Amazon. If you’re still not sure about the item, you can cross-reference it online outside Amazon. Try to find customer reviews and Q&As about the product from other review sites and online platforms.
Use FakeSpot to Uncover Fake Reviews
Third-party sites and tools can be extremely useful when it comes to spotting fake reviews on Amazon. They use special algorithms that analyze every single review to determine which ones are most likely to be fake.
FakeSpot is a free app that you can use online to determine the legitimacy of product reviews on Amazon and eBay. After you Install the app and create a FakeSpot account, you can start using it on Amazon. Go on any product page and run FakeSpot to check the authenticity of this product’s reviews and ratings.
How to Report a Fake Review to Amazon
If you came across an obviously fake product review, you can report it to Amazon. That can be especially useful if you notice one product having multiple seemingly illegitimate reviews listed for it which affect the product’s rating.
To report a fake review on Amazon, select Report abuse right under the published review. Fill out the form in the pop up window and select Report to confirm.
Become a Savvy Amazon Shopper
Amazon is still an unmatched online shopping platform that you can use to find good deals and buy anything you need: from a microSD card for your Nintendo Switch to a last-minute Christmas gift for a friend or a colleague. Learning to spot fake reviews on Amazon will help you avoid making the purchases you’ll regret in the future and only get the products that are worth buying.
Have you ever had to say no to a product because of the fake reviews and ratings found online? How do you tell fake from legit product reviews on Amazon? Share your Amazon experience with us in the comments below.