How to Spot Fake Amazon Reviews
While Amazon does it's best to crack down on fake product reviews, there are simply too many bad actors out there trying to circumvent the rules. Fake reviews are easy to spot once you know what you are looking for, and any manufacturer doing it should NOT be trusted.
Why do sellers fake reviews in the first place?
Easy: because they can, and it increases their sales.
It is hard to get reviews. I've been a seller on Amazon, and typcially 1-2% of your total sales come back and turn into reviewers. This means that products with over 1,000 reviews should have sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 million units. Come on... no way.
The real problem here is that customers aren't aware this is happening. They take these reviews at face value. They trust Amazon is policing the review process. Unfortunately, this is not always true and certain sellers are always trying to find new ways to circumvent the rules.
How to spot fake product reviews
Amazon is constantly trying to crack down on fake reviews. They realize this type of deception erodes away at the trust they've built up over the years. However, many sellers find ways around Amazon's rule book or simply try to take advantage of the system until they are caught.
As a buyer, you need to do your own research to ensure you are not being deceived by counterfeit reviews. Typically we take reviews at face value, but you shouldn't.
Here are some ways you can identify fake Amazon reviews:
- Odd use of the English language. Many fake reviews are written overseas with translation services.
- Plenty of positive reviews left within a short time frame. Often these types of reviews use similar wording, images and/or phrases.
- Too many reviews. Typically reviews represent 1-2% of the buying public. If a product has thousands of reviews, yet you've never heard of that company... beware.
- A product only has 5 star reviews. Human nature dictates that everyone will have different experiences, even with the same product. Real reviews will be a mix of good, neutral and bad.
- Persistent use of the product's full name.
- Reviews which overly-praise the product. Most people are excited about the results, not the product itself.
- Check the reviewer's history. Fake reviewer accounts usually only leave 5 star reviews
- A positive review posted on the day of listing or shortly afterward. On average a review is posted every day or two for a brisk selling product. Beware of a review that was posted immediately after purchasing the product.
- Unverified purchasers. Reviews that are not attached to a 'verified' purchase should be taken with some skepticism.
Fake Amazon Review Decectors
There are some online tools that we've used in the past that help spot fake reviews for us. They may not be 100% right and rely on computer modeling techniques, but they usually give a good indication on whether or not a set of reviews should be trusted or not.
FakeSpot was one of the first and the best known fake review checker tools. Their proprietary technology analyzes millions of product reviews, looking for suspicious patterns and incentivized reviews. They then weed out the reviews deemed unreliable and rescore it.
ReviewMeta leverages algorithms and data science and has the ability to scan thousands of reviews and identify unnatural patterns in just seconds. The results come back with a simple Pass/Warn/Fail metric that you can dig deeper into if you want to.
I tried this one a few times and it looks promising, but was never able to get it to work. It always found the product, but never came back with a score like the others did.