If you’re like most consumers, you use product reviews to help inform your buying decisions. The trouble is, there’s no way to verify if a review is genuine — or if it’s fake. By learning to spot the hallmarks of real reviews, you can make smarter purchases.
Mix of Negative and Positive
Think about the products you love — chances are, you have at least one criticism. Why? Because no product is perfect. If you’re reading a review that seems too positive, it probably is. The same goes for a review that’s all negative; the person may have been writing out of emotion rather than objectivity. Instead, look for reviews that offer a mix of both positive and negative feedback.
Stringent Review Policies
Does the website you’re reading require users to purchase an item before leaving a review? If so, it’s automatically more likely that the review is genuine. After all, it’s a pain for a business to create accounts, buy products, and leave reviews. This should only be one step in your process, however, as unscrupulous business owners may be going to the trouble simply to improve reviews.
Extensive Reviewer Profile
If you’re on the fence about whether a product review is real, try looking at the person’s profile. Have they published only one review? That could be a red flag. If they’ve published many different thoughtful reviews of different products, you can probably rest assured that the review is genuine.
High Number of Reviews
The overall number of reviews can be a useful factor in figuring out whether or not a review is genuine. If there are 15 gushing, five-star reviews, you might want to proceed with caution. If there are 1,000 or more of varying star levels, you can probably trust the majority. After all, it’s easy for a business owner to create 10-50 fake reviews — it’s much more difficult to create 1,000.
Take a look at the language of your review — then, look at the language of the other positive reviews. Do you notice a number of unusual sentence constructions or grammatical errors? This could be because the company paid international workers to buy products and write fake reviews. If the reviews are put through a translator, or written by someone who is not fluent in English, it can result in a slew of similar errors.
Corroborate With Outside Research
When you find a review that seems detailed and genuine, you can take another step to verify its authenticity. How? See if you can corroborate the feedback with other online reviews. Look for in-depth reviews, preferably with photos, on blogs and other websites. If the review information rings true, you can probably trust the original review.
Given the nature of online reviews, there’s no way to be 100% sure that a review is accurate. With a little research, however, you can increase your confidence. In doing so, you can spot great items and spend wisely.