Fake Reviews on the Internet (Part 2) – Tips for Consumers

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85% of internet users rely on the statements they find on review sites [1]. Online recommendations should help consumers decide what products to purchase but instead they obscure the image of supposed trustworthy sites. Not all reviews should be blindly trusted. Here are a few of our tips on how consumers and businesses can identify fake reviews.

Manipulated internet review

Manipulated internet review

Internet reviews are available for just about anything

Both products and services can be purchased online from the comfort of your home. Just about any product can be found in an online store. Holidays, however, are only booked online once numerous customer reviews have been read. Which restaurant you should visit next will even be decided by internet reviews in the future. In order to gain an overview of the numerous offers, recommendations are available to read online and personal experiences can be shared. However not all reviews expose the full truth!

Uncertainty caused by review sites

The lack of transparency between truthful and fake internet reviews has recently become problematic. Can we believe any of the reviews which are found on the net? Customers are becoming increasingly dubious. For example, a customer reads hotel reviews for reassurance that their next trip won’t be a holiday from hell. Despite positive recommendations, this has already led to disappointment for so many, simply because the reviews were fakes. In order to differentiate between fake and genuine reviews, we recommend you adhere to the following criteria.

Identifying fake reviews: be cautious of …

Tip 1: … exclusively positive reviews.

You should be sceptical towards products and services which have only ever received positive reviews. There is no such thing as a product or service which is 100 percent perfect.

 

average rating

Caution! 100 percent satisfaction but only one review. There’s something not quite right here. [Source]

Tip 2: … negative reviews.

Pay attention that the reviews reflect subjective perceptions. You should still consider negative reviews but keep in mind that a student, for example, has very different expectations to those of a family of four and therefore reviews a product or holiday in a very different light.

Tipp 3: … the number and up-to-dateness of reviews.

Check that there are a sufficient number of recommendations available. The more users that have reviewed the product, the more credible the feedback.  The up-to-dateness of the reviews also plays an important role. In the case of older reviews, it’s important not to forget that the product or service may have been renewed or improved since the review was written. The same applies to restaurant proprietors or waiting staff which may have been replaced. Hence, the review may become void.

Tip 4: … the wording of reviews.

Normal consumers don’t take the time to write marketing texts and embellish every detail. You should be suspicious if you come across such a case. If you find any phrases which you assume to be from copywriters, you should copy and paste these into a search engine. Using this simple trick, you will be able to find out if this review has already been used for another product or service. If the same review appears several times on the internet, you can be almost certain that you have come across a case of manipulation.

Tip 5: … review sites without registration.

Use review sites for which registration is obligatory. If any Tom, Dick or Harry can write a review without registration, it is easy to submit repetitive and manipulated (positive or negative) reviews. Websites, which may only be used once a full registration has been completed, consisting of personal details and an email address, are likely to be more secure from manipulation and contain comparatively fewer fake reviews.

Become active and share your own experience

If you want to be able to rely on the recommendations available online, make sure to keep our tips in mind. It is precisely for this reason that we recommend you have a look at several different sources of information in order to gain a better overview of product and service reviews.  However one thing is certain, customer reviews should make it is easier for you to decide what to purchase, not more difficult.

Give and take: give a review about your personal experience with a product or service. You can use a short review to share your experience and hence help other consumers decide what to buy. The more reviews available, the greater the benefit for everyone. If businesses pay attentions to the customer feedback, they can take action by improving their products and services, which in turn ensures loyal and happy customers.

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Fake reviews on the net: how can consumers and businesses identify manipulated reviews?

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://blog.kennstdueinen.de/2011/09/85-der-nutzer-vertrauen-online-bewertungen-kundenempfehlungen/

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