Are fake reviews fooling you?

Do you know the product which you are buying on the basis of reviews or ratings/stars, that can be fake reviews?

Do not trust Online Reviews

The reviews and the ratings are the backbone of many companies, they can make it or break it.
Everytime you are planning to dine out, you checkout the place online, view the reviews, everytime we book a hotel, we read about the experiences of the previous guests. And everytime we are buying any product online, we check the review first. We relay on the reviews for the quality and the authenticity for the product. Do you know atleast 40% of those reviews are fake and they have been placed there to fool you.

Those who are writing the fake reviews are being paid for that or, they are giving incentives or free products in return of the fake review.

One google search and you can find hundreds of websites, where fake reviews and ratings are done.
(example: FeedbackExpress, AMZFinder, FeedbackFive, SageMailer, Kibly, Zonguru, Bqool, xSellco, FeedbackZ, Feedback Genius and many more) click on the below image for more information from website fiverr...

Who is buying these services?

Companies or individuals who are selling products online use these fake reviews software or  services, not all of them but alot of them. Many website adds some garbage positive reviews for increasing the sale of the product or service. Good reviews and high ratings help products to stay ahead in the listing.

Why to use fake reviews/ratings?

Lets discuss about amazon (Amazon Sellers), as amazon is biggest online selling platform in the world. There are 1.8 million(18 lakhs) sellers on amazon (including its all subsidiaries) and total number of products is 600 million(6 Crore). If you search for any products lets say a "watch" and you will find all the products on the top as well as in the first page is rated more then 4 or 4.5. the products below 2 ratings will be available at the last page depending upon the number of the products. Most of us don't have the time or patience to browse beyond the first or first few pages. And many of us buy products from the first 5 pages unless we are looking for something specific. so in order to increase the sells, the sellers often trick their way to be on top. 

99.6% (Confirmed by WION) fake reviews on amazon are 5 star reviews. 5 star review ensure that you are on the top of the list. This is one reason why fake reviews were being used, now the next one is to sell the average or below average products, some time even the fake products. Their packages and fancy designs with fake reviews and ratings. 
Do you know the reviewers have never even seen the product that they are reviewing. Even fake reviews are often used to pull down the rate of competitors, many users are paid to leave negative reviews on the products. Some Amazon Sellers are paying $10,000 a month to trick their way to the Top (By Buzzfeed News). 

Do online Shopping portal know about this SCAM?

Yes they Know. Amazon allows to report abuse in a review. In 2015 it removed 1,114 (By Forbes) fake reviews for false, misleading and inauthentic reviews. Less them two month ago, amazon removes 20,000 fake reviews written by seven of its top 10 reviewers after 'users made thousands of pounds posting fake five star write-ups(Published on Mail Online). Flipkart also deleting the fake reviews.

What Percentage of Amazon Reviews are fake?

According to one report, there are around 250 million reviews on Amazon and number of unverified reviews are more than 2 million (20,00,000+) as of march 2019.
61% of reviews for Electronics items are FAKE. As because only 3 - 10% of actual buyers post review about a product. Those of who writing fake reviews are earning more than $10,000(around ₹7,50,000) per month. Here is a article by DIGIDAY, where a women claimed she had received a free gift of $50 Bluetooth Speaker for reviewing a single product.

These people are paid for influencing our choises. Do you know 82% of adults in America check reviews and 16.2% customers decide on ratings and reviews. Do they know fake reviews? Yes, alot of them. 20.8% American Adults say they do trust on reviews by only verified buyers and 4.1% say they do not trust reviews at all. What about India? A survey in India found 62% consumers across 220 districts say they found a positive bias in the reviews. So there is awareness. What there isn't, the ability to tell fake reviews from authentic ones.

How to spot Fake Reviews?

1. Look at the profile of the commenter, if he/she reviewed only one product and write Gaga about the product, skip that.
2. Look at the timing of the review. If most of the reviews are made on a specific days, that must be reviewed by bot.
3. If a product only have 5 star reviews. 

4. Spot reviews with similar languages. say a product have 50 reviews and 25 of them are from unverified buyers and they all left reviews with a single word like 'Nice', 'Good Product', 'Amazing', 'Must Buy'. So don't go for the product.
5. There are many website that help you to verify reviews. Just simply google search and you will get the results. Do this next time before you buy online.

It is more important ever to spot fake reviews. We have became very depending upon online curtesy during Global Wuhan Virus Pandemic. If you look at US retail sale, online spending increased 18.65% during the pandemic, where in India it increases 64%. Around 62% Consumers priorities products safety. Don't let the fake reviews decide which product is safe and which is not. Next time you buy online, remember 63% of reviews on beauty products are fake, 59% of sneaker reviews are unreliable, 64% reviews on Supplements cannot be trusted, on simple language Online reviews cannot be trusted. Look for verified buyers or do a quick research about the product you are going to buy, remember we are living in a time, where the opinion can be bought or sold.

Posted on 22/11/2020 by Rajat Saha. 
Data sources mentions above...

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