Amazon has millions of products available for sale. Which can actually make it quite difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. The one thing that helps make the buying process easier is checking out the product reviews.
If you see an item with hundreds or thousands of five-star reviews, that must be an indication that it’s a good buy. Right? Well, not necessarily. It’s possible that many of those reviews are fake. Especially when it’s a product or brand you’re not familiar with. Why does this happen and how can you spot a fake? Keep reading to find out.
Fake Amazon Reviews Are Common
We all know that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, and Amazon product reviews are no exception. But how do you spot them?
Fake reviews usually go to the extremes—either positive or negative. They can be written by Amazon users on behalf of a brand or a third-party seller without the reviewer actually purchasing or using the product.
Or, they can be written by someone who has purchased the item but has made a deal with the seller to post a glowing review in return for refunds, incentives, or freebies.
Brands and third-party sellers sometimes use fake reviews to mislead potential customers into purchasing their products. These types of fakes will exaggerate a product’s quality and usefulness.
Other times, extremely negative fake reviews are used as a tool to discourage people from purchasing a product from a competitor.
Knowing that fake Amazon reviews exist is important when making your purchasing decisions. Fake positives can manipulate the ratings, and put subpar products at the top of search results.
How To Spot Fake Amazon Reviews
Amazon shopping doesn’t come with a manual or a list of directions. There isn’t a particular method for spotting a fake review. But, there are some red flags to look out for that can indicate something’s not right.
Like we told you earlier, fake reviews are usually extreme one way or the other. Companies will pay for five-star ratings for their own products. On the flip side, they’ll pay for one-star reviews for competitor products.
This is why it’s a good idea to check out the detailed reviews in the middle, with two, three, or four stars. These reviews are most likely authentic and will give you a realistic idea of a product’s pros and cons.
1. Check The Percentages
If a product has a high percentage of five-star reviews and a handful of one-star reviews–but almost nothing in the middle–that’s a huge red flag. That can be a sign that the five-star reviews have been paid for, and the one-star reviews are actual unhappy customers who wasted their money.
2. Is It A ‘Verified Purchase’?
Amazon reviewers who actually purchased the product will often have a “verified purchase” badge next to their name. This isn’t a sure thing, but it’s a good indication that the review is legit.
3. Read The Product Q&A
Writing a glowing fake review is pretty easy. It’s a lot harder to lie in the product’s questions and answers section. That’s where you’ll find answers to common customer questions, and they can get pretty detailed.
If something has a lot of reviews, it should have a Q&A section filled with comments about the product’s quality, size, ease of assembly, color, etc. These answers should give you a decent idea of what you’re purchasing.
4. Be Skeptical Of Short And/Or Vague Reviews
Fake Amazon reviews are often short and extremely vague. If the reviewer simply wrote “Amazing!” or “Love it!” it’s possible that’s a fake review. The same goes for comments like “terrible” or “the worst.”
5. The Review Mentions A Competitor
If you read a review that mentions a competing brand or product–telling you not to spend your money on what you are looking at and directing you elsewhere–that should make your Spidey senses tingle.
How To Use Third-Party Tools
If you don’t want to spend your time combing through the reviews and the Q&A section, you can use a browser extension or app that is specifically designed to evaluate Amazon product reviews to determine their authenticity. These third-party tools are not affiliated with Amazon, but they will weed out the bogus five-star ratings.
Fakespot and ReviewMeta are browser extensions that also have apps for Android and iOS that use an algorithm to flush out fake reviews. You can also cut and paste the URL of the Amazon product page in either tool to get the data you are looking for.
Fakespot works with Amazon reviews, as well as eBay, Best Buy, Sephora, and Walmart. After it performs its analysis, it provides a letter grade that rates the quality of a product’s reviews. If it gives you an “A,” that means the reviews appear to be copacetic. But it’s not a guarantee that the product is great.
If Fakespot gives you an “F,” that means the algorithm has spotted a bunch of fakes. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the product is a bust.
ReviewMeta is a metric tool that only works with Amazon reviews. It will analyze a product page and filter out bogus reviews. Instead of a grade, ReviewMeta will tell you the percentage of reviews that it’s filtered out and give you an adjusted rating.
Be aware that most popular products will have a handful of fake or misleading reviews, but that won’t change their overall rating. If the overwhelming majority of reviews are legit, you should be good to go.
If you believe you’ve spotted a fake review, notify Amazon by clicking “report abuse.” It doesn’t matter if you purchase the product or not.