Reviews, or social proof, are pivotal in convincing people to buy items. We use them everywhere, for everything. Amazon knows this, but also knows it has a problem with vendors faking them. They're finally trying to clean up their act.
Amazon has known it has had a fake review problem for a long time. Many savvy Amazon users have also known that not all product reviews are real.
It has taken forever, but it seems Amazon is taking action.
It has filed a lawsuit against over 10,000 Facebook groups that facilitate fake reviews.
These groups offer incentives, free products and cash for users who submit positive reviews for participating products.
One group, “Amazon Product Review,” had over 40,000 members until Facebook took it down earlier this year. We don’t have exact numbers for the others, but they could easily be similar.
It’s not clear how effective a lawsuit will be at stopping this practice but it’s a good start.
It isn’t always easy to spot fake reviews on Amazon. Some are clearly fake but others can be cleverer and disguise their true intent well.
A few things to look out for include:
A five-star review with just ‘Nice color’ or ‘Convenient screen size’ is a sure sign of a fake review.
Sure, some of us don’t have the time or inclination to write a novel for a review, but the majority of people who take the time to leave a review will add detail to it.
Fake reviews can be negative as well as positive, to bring down competitors. If a review uses lots of exuberant language and seems overly enthusiastic, it may be fake. The opposite is also true.
If you’re happy with something and want other people to know it, you’ll tell people exactly what you’re happy with and why. Any review that doesn’t, could be a fake. This works for positive and negative reviews.
If you’re unhappy with a feature or the quality, you’re going make sure other people are aware of it and not just use single, vague words.
Any review that tells you not to buy X but buy Y, is likely to be fake. Some people may occasionally say they had wished they had bought a product from another manufacturer or that it doesn’t compare well with another product, but will usually contain specifics.