11 Tips for Spotting Fake Reviews

Researching a new business for a big purchase or just trying to find a decent place for happy hour can be tedious. Reading through all the reviews, deciding if you think the user was just complaining or if their negativity was actually warranted. It is important to know the transparency with reviewers. Are you sure this feedback is from actual customers?

Large powerhouses such as Amazon and Yelp both report that their algorithms filter out fake posts but nothing is perfect. Boston University’s Georgios Zervas, who studied Yelp user reviews, estimates that about one in four submitted reviews are fakes. So how do you spot them? We have gathered a list of tips on how to spot the fake reviews.

  1. No specifics. If you are looking at hotels and there are reviews lacking specifics? Probably fake. Positive or negative, users will mention details such as the floors or bathroom.
  2. Repeating full product name or model number. As we all know, reviews are huge game changers in the world of SEO. If a review is mentioning the specific product name or model number over and over, fake. That is a marketer trying to boost their rankings on that product or brand.
  3. Unusual jargon. Within your research, you will become knowledgeable in the type of reviews being written. Be wary of the reviews with similar phrasing or with ultra-positive or negative reviews.
  4. Verification filter. Many companies are starting to implement a “verified customer” filter. Use this tool to filter out possible fake reviews.
  5. Level up. If the verified filter does not tickle your fancy, try out Fakespot; a free add-on that grades reliability of Amazon product reviews.
  6. Bonuses. If the reviewer is reporting where to buy the product/service or gives a discount code? Fake.
  7. Bad consistency. With a franchise operation, all the reviewers have reviewed the other locations of the national chain within a few days of one another.
  8. Too many numbers. Usually a sign of a fake user/review if the username has more than 3 numbers at the end.
  9. Duplicates. When conducting research, many times customers will look at multiple sites. Finding the exact same review across multiple sites definitely means the review is fake. Someone is being lazy!
  10. Too positive. According to Vendasta, 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores. If the product/service only has positive reviews? Sham. 
  11. User profile. If the reviews seem okay or you aren’t sure, take a look at the user profile and see if they review multiple brands/products. If they have reviews across the globe instead of grouped into a couple locations, the user is most likely fake!