With online shopping be so prevalent today the consumer needs to be cautious of their buying habits. There are more choices available with the online platform then ever before. We have products and brands that we have never heard of and the price wars among similar products has heated up. With the large variety, many consumers do not know what product to choose and one of the most common things to look at when deciding is an Amazon product review. Many consumers look to how many stars a product has and how many people have reviewed it. But not all reviews can help; there are fake reviews that can tip the scale one way or another.
The New York Times did a study on paid reviews for Amazon. Companies are paying customers to write reviews for their products. These companies went from mainly one star reviews, with customers complaining about the product to a majority of five star reviews. Amazon tries to delete these fake reviews, but some still get through. There are some companies that will offer incentives to customers for reviews and others have been known to pay people to write reviews in their favor. This causes an imbalance among sellers. When one product looks more favorable then the other and yet are equal in quality this can be deemed unfair. Companies also use this tactic to hide the negatives, which is false advertising.
Spamming Negative Reviews
Another tactic that has been seen among online sellers is spamming a competitor with negative reviews. By creating many one star ratings, this will drop the sellers’ overall ratings and make it harder for them to compete for the Buy Box. It can also create a concern for potential customers. Amazon has been tracking these fake reviews and deleting them as well as dealing with the sellers creating these fake posts.
How to Spot a Fake Review
No matter how hard Amazon tries through personnel and software, fake reviews still make it to sellers’ pages. There are a few ways to detect fake reviews when you are reading through them.
- Very generic terminology – When the review says nothing specific about the actual item this may be an indicator of a fake review.
- When the review is really short – Although many people do not like writing, a short review such as “good product” may be a fake review.
- When the review mentions competitor sellers – A fake review may want you to look at their page instead so if you see “product is not as good as (seller)” then this may be an indicator that the review is fake.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent 100 percent of fake reviews. These reviews can hurt the competition market. These fake reviews hurt not only the competition but the sellers that they are affecting. As a consumer look for indicators of fake reviews when purchasing, as a seller follow the guidelines set out by Amazon to maintain a fair sellers’ market.