Reputation Defenders

How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon?

How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon?
Maria Martin

10

read

How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon

Despite being the world's largest online marketplace, Amazon has its fair share of unscrupulous sellers. To help you spot fake reviews and avoid scams, here's how to identify them.

How to spot fake reviews on Amazon

Amazon makes it easy for anyone to review anything on its site. If you're looking for a specific item, you'll likely find hundreds of similar items listed. And while some of those listings might contain false information, others could sell the same for much lower prices.

The trick is figuring out whether a listing is legit or not. One way to do that is to check the reviews section. If there are many positive reviews, it's safe to assume that the product is of good quality. However, if most of the reviews are negative, or if there are only one or two reviews, that might mean something else entirely.

Fake reviews are often posted quickly, and many sellers pay reviewers to write glowing reviews about their products. So, how do you tell if someone is writing a review themselves or paying for one? There's no foolproof way to determine the authenticity of a review, but here are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Reviews written within 24 hours of purchasing a product are considered less credible.
  2. Reviewers tend to like the product they're reviewing. This is because they want to promote their favorite brand, not necessarily because they think the product could be better.
  3. Reviews written by sellers are usually more trustworthy than those written by buyers. Sellers typically don't have the incentive to lie about a product. They're trying to sell it, not make friends. On the other hand, buyers might only read a product description after posting a review.

Why do Amazon sellers buy fake reviews?

Amazon sellers are sometimes honest about how many customers they've had and how satisfied those customers are. But honesty does pay off when it comes to getting noticed by Amazon's algorithm. Some sellers are willing to spend money to ensure their products are high in searches.

The most common tactic is buying positive reviews. This works because negative reviews get buried in the rankings while positive ones rise to the top. If a seller wants to boost a specific product, she might buy 5 or 10 reviews for $5 each.

But there are limits to how far a seller can push things. Negative reviews still count toward a product's overall score, and Amazon won't let anyone write false information. So if someone buys a bunch of fake reviews for a rival product, he'd better hope his competitors don't notice.

How do fake reviews work on Amazon?

There are many ways you can buy fake reviews on Amazon. Some people pay others to write positive reviews, while others use software to generate fake reviews. Others try to sell their fake reviews. And still, others buy real reviews from third-party sites and resell them. Fake reviews are one of the biggest problems facing Amazon sellers. They can hurt sales and damage brand reputation.

Amazon has tried to fight against it for years. In 2016, the company pretended to be a seller and hired fake reviewers from the freelance site Fiverr (a marketplace where independent contractors offer their services) and found them using multiple accounts and IP addresses to hide their identity.

The company has sued websites that provide fake reviews for as little as $5. One of those companies, ReviewSub, allegedly paid over 200,000 customers to post fake reviews on its website.

In May 2018, Amazon filed suit against another provider of fake reviews, called BuyBoxReviews.com, alleging that the company engaged in deceptive practices to promote its fake reviews. The company allegedly used bots to write thousands of negative reviews every day.

And finally, in January 2020, Amazon announced that it banned certain products because it had received too many poor customer reviews. Among the products affected were Aukey power banks and chargers.

Check the 'Verified Purchase' tag.

A recent study found that nearly half of Amazon reviewers are paid to write positive reviews about products. This practice is called "bought reviews," and it's one-way businesses try to boost sales. But it's only sometimes possible to determine whether a reviewer is truthful. So how do you know if a review is real?

The first thing to check is the "verified purchase" tag. It appears next to every review that says a customer bought the item directly from the seller's site. Reviews without the tag aren't necessarily fake — they just don't come from actual customers.

If a review does have the tag, there are several things to consider:

  1. Make sure the date stamp matches the post date.
  2. Take note of the number of stars the review received. A five-star rating isn't worth much if it came out of nowhere.
  3. Look at the comments section.

If someone wrote, "I bought this for $10 off amazon, and I'm giving it five stars because it works great!" that's probably a fake.

Check review headlines

Another way to spot fake Amazon Reviews is to scrutinize the headline. Fake reviewers usually don't go into detail and use general terms such as "good", "awesome", "must-haves", "duds", "shouldn't", "best", "worst", "greatest", "most expensive", "least expensive", "cheapest", "highest quality", "lowest quality", "most reliable", "least reliable", "fastest shipping", "slowest shipping", "and "best seller".

Most fake reviewers only go up to a few sentences and repeat themselves or use similar language in multiple reviews. Genuine reviewers tend to make their headlines stand out and include specific positive and negative points. For example, "This product is great for those looking for a good deal. I bought this for my daughter, and she loves it! She uses it every day."

Read Amazon reviews with a little skepticism.

Amazon is one of the most trusted online shopping sites. But you don't want to buy anything based solely on what people say about it. To help consumers make better decisions, we've compiled some tips on how to read Amazon reviews.

Fake reviews are everywhere. Some sellers pay others to post fake reviews of their products.

It is if you see a review that sounds too good to be true. Read reviews carefully and take note of the following red flags:

  • An overwhelming number of five-star ratings. These reviews could indicate paid reviews, where someone pays another person to give the product a high rating.
  • Reviews written by multiple authors. This indicates that the author doesn't live in the area where the item is sold.
  • Comments from unverified accounts. These are usually suspicious because Amazon hasn't verified the account.
  • Reviews with no date stamp. In addition to being older than three months, these reviews are only sometimes recent.

Look for similar words and phrases.

Seeing many positive reviews for a product with specific keywords could mean people are trying to game the system.

Here's how it works. A seller creates a template of words and uses those same words and phrases throughout his listing. Then he shares the list with reviewers to ask them to leave a review with one of those words. This way, he knows exactly what to look for in the reviews.

For example, a seller wants to ensure his product gets lots of 5-star ratings. He might write a template that says things like '5 stars' and 'quality'. Then he sends the list to reviewers, asking them to leave a review that includes one of those words. For instance, he might ask someone to leave a review that reads, "This sound bar is great quality. I love watching movies on my big screen TV."

The seller then looks for reviews that include both words. In this case, he'd find many positive reviews that read, "I bought this sound bar for my home theater setup, and it sounds amazing!"

He might even find some negative reviews that read, "My sound bars aren't very good. They don't do anything special except play music loud."

In this scenario, the reviewer left the exact phrase the seller wanted. So the seller would know that the reviewer didn't like the soundbar because it wasn't doing anything special.

Check timestamps

Reviewing products is one of the best ways to see whether there are any problems with the product. But sometimes, it seems like some people want to make money off of selling fake reviews. There are many different types of sellers out there, including those who buy fake reviews in bulk. A seller might purchase hundreds or thousands of reviews and post them in rapid succession. This makes it difficult to tell what is real and what isn't.

But now there is a way to help figure this out. When you go into the "reviews" section of Amazon, you can view only the most recently submitted reviews. These reviews tend to be written within minutes because buyers often rush to submit their reviews before someone else does. So if you see many reviews posted very quickly, you know that they probably aren't coming from actual customers.

Compare product popularity with reviews.

Do you notice an unknown headphone has thousands of rave reviews? If so, it could be because those are fake reviews posted by third parties trying to pump up the product rating on Amazon.com. A recent study found that most of the positive reviews on Amazon aren't coming from real buyers. Instead, they're often written by people impersonating customers, boosting the ratings on competing products.

The research team behind the study used a tool called ReviewMeta to analyze over 2 million product reviews across hundreds of categories. They found that third-party reviewers generated about 80% of the 5-star reviews. In some cases, the number of fake reviews exceeded the total number of legitimate ones. For example, one product had 4,843 five-star reviews, compared to just 881 genuine reviews.

In another case, a single reviewer wrote 7,038 five-star reviews for a single product, compared to just 690 reviews from actual consumers. This suggests that there could be many more fake reviews out there.

Look for rival product references in reviews.

The number of negative reviews for a particular product usually correlates with how much it costs. Many companies pay people to write fake positive reviews about their products. However, there are ways to spot whether a review is legitimate.

A recent study found that nearly half of all reviews on Amazon are written by competitors trying to boost sales of their products. The researchers discovered that almost 90% of reviews mentioning a competitor's brand name had been posted within five days of the competitor launching a new product.

When looking at the average rating of a product, look out for reviews where customers ask questions like "Does this work?" or "Is this worth buying?" You'll know that the reviewer needs to talk about the product being reviewed.

In addition, look for reviews that mention competing brands. For example, if a customer asks a question such as "Which one do I choose?" and the answer includes the phrase "This works better," that could indicate that the person writing the review is affiliated with the product being reviewed. A similar pattern occurs when someone mentions a competitor's product in a sentence that begins with "I compared..."

Check the reviewer's profile.

If you want to ensure that the reviewers are real people, it helps to look up their profiles. Reviewers usually must provide contact information like an email address and phone number. This way, customers can contact the reviewer directly and verify their identity.

You can also check the reviewer's profile picture and review history. Check whether the reviewer uses the same avatar across multiple platforms. If too many reviews for one product within a short period, it might indicate that the reviewer is a bot.

In addition, you can click on the reviewer's name to view their full profile. From there, you can access the following information:

• Reviews written

• Date of the review posted

• Number of reviews written

• Average rating given

Use third-party websites to detect fake reviews.

Amazon wants you to read only some of the reviews. So, it offers a way to filter out the noise. But how do you know what's real and what isn't? There are many ways to find out whether a review is legit. One option is to go directly to the source, i.e., Amazon.com. However, plenty of companies aggregate data from multiple sources, including Amazon, to give you an idea about the overall quality of the product.

Fakespot and ReviewMeta allow you to see the number of verified reviews, average ratings, and even positive and negative reviews. They're free to use, though some features require paid subscriptions. If you're looking for something simpler, The Review Index provides similar information. It's free, too.

The site allows you to scan thousands of products in just seconds. Enter the product URL in the box and hit "Go." This tool will pull up all the relevant info, such as the total number of reviews, the average rating across all reviewers, and the percentage of positive ratings.

Make a wise purchase decision.

Amazon Prime Day is almost here, and shoppers are already starting to make purchases online. But how do you know what to buy without getting scammed? Here are some things to look out for when buying anything on Amazon.

1. Check out the seller's feedback rating. If there are few positive reviews, it could mean something fishy is happening.

2. Look for third-party sellers with high ratings. These are legitimate businesses selling items directly from their store.

3. Avoid buying counterfeit goods, especially those sold by third parties.

4. Read the description carefully to see if there are any hidden fees or charges.

5. Make sure the item is compatible with your device.

6. Remember to read comments from previous buyers. They might give you insight into whether the product is worth the price.

7. And finally, keep yourself from getting tricked by fake reviews.

Updated

November 16, 2022

Share it
social media sharing

Build a stronger with Reputation Defenders

Get Started