Fake Reviews Online

fake amazon reviews
Are people online lying to you about products?

There’s no doubt about it, a personal recommendation from somebody you know and trust is the best possible advert. If I am anything to go by, a good recommendation will actually overrule my own personal experience. If someone tells me something is good, if I don’t find it works for me I’ll often blame myself rather than the product or its fan.

Next best is the opinion of a good reviewer, preferably someone in authority. Good reviews can lead to sales – bad ones put you off.

A good third place comes from reviews from users. You may not know them and they may not have any particular credentials. But nonetheless what someone else says can be very influential. But the difference is that this kind of review isn’t necessarily impartial. And people with something to sell are well aware of the power of reviews and many have succumbed to the temptation to do what they can to get the positive reviews that they know will lead to sales. This was always the case, but has become really significant since the internet arrived in the commercial world.

The platform with the most influence is of course Amazon, and fake reviews have become an industry in themselves. You get the same problem elsewhere of course, but the scale of Amazon is astonishing and so is the scale of the problem of fake reviews on the platform. This includes not only puffing up products you want to sell, it can also mean slagging off your competition. Internet marketers have to make a living like the rest of u. But even so, they are probably not the slice of humankind we’d to send to aliens to show off qwhat kind of a species we are. There are few tricks they won’t resort to.

But even amongst these rogues there is a bit of a spectrum.  You certainly get reviews made up entirely in return for money.  But you also get free samples sent to bloggers.  The blogger in question might not be consciously aware of the bias, but they have been given something and so owe the company a favour.  And of course if they give a bad review they know very well that they are unlikely to get another sample.

That doesn’t mean that when you see a bad review that someone is overcoming the bias and giving you the truth.  Vloggers and bloggers are paid to do negative reviews too sometimes.

So how can you tell the good reviews from the fakes?  It is hard, but I think there are tells you can detect. For a start, note just how much evidence there is that the reviewer has actually used the product. The more clichéd and generic the review the more likely it is that they are simply doing it for cash.

The other characteristic of fake views is that people who lie a lot tend to talk about themselves a lot. I don’t know what the psychological explanation is, but it certainly seems to be true that egotistical behaviour and dishonesty are close friends.

Fake reviews also tend to be short.  If you heart isn’t really in it you aren’t going to have a lot to say.  The good thing about this is that we tend naturally to take less notice of shorter reviews.  Indeed any good salesman knows that the longer they spend talking to you the more you get to trust what they have to say.   If you’ve ever tried to keep a meeting with a vendor short and to the point you’ll know how seriously they take this.

And my last tip is one that can be aimed at me rather easily.   If the reviewer hasn’t tried the product they might well pick up on details they can find easily online.  I do this sometimes.   There are often products that are interesting for some reason, and I write about them on the basis of what the ingredient list says without actually trying it.  Of course, as a cosmetic formulator this does make some sense.   I have an idea about the way these things work so I hope I can still say something meaningful.  But I read a lot of reviews where people make reference to what the products contain.  They might have good reason to do so, but equally they might be desperately hunting for anything to say about what they are talking about that doesn’t involve actually buying the stuff.

Marlena Stell has got a lot of views talking about what a big deal paid for YouTube videos are.
https://youtu.be/fBNZrvGLmyQ
I will leave the validity of her comments about whether it is worth paying large sums for video endorsements or not to people who know the numbers. And as to the morality of charging high fees for video endorsements – that is not something that seems to me very important in the overall scheme of things. Celebrity endorsements are a market like any other and YouTubers are celebrities. But speaking practically, with large cheques flying around the chances of reviews of products on YouTube being completely objective are pretty slim. The higher their production values the more chance you aren’t getting an objective review.

So basically, keep your eyes open. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. And apply a bit of common sense. Happy shopping.

One thought on “Fake Reviews Online

  1. Magda

    Personally, people talking too much about a product put me off buying it. I know they are trying to sell me something – if they overdo it I tend to think they are exaggerating and/or lying, and go spend my money elsewhere. Or keep it in the bank. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.