How to tell if a product review is real

Whether you are looking for a convertible car seat for you baby, a hotel room, or a yoga book, the best way to find a good product is to read what other people say about it. With more people finding information on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Amazon reviews before making a purchase, some marketers are trying to game the system by creating fake and misleading reviews. While computer algorithms of these websites can be trained to spot and flag the fakes, it is difficult for people to determine what is real and what is not. Nonetheless, if you look out for certain telltale signs, it is possible to sniff out the fakes every time.

1. Too Little History

Most sites now make it a requirement that every review must be tied to an actual purchase. Other sites such as Yelp rate their reviewers, telling you how much confidence to put in their postings. However, if you are on a site without such controls and find any person that only gives five-star ratings, has only one review, has little or few social connections, or no profile information, it is highly likely that you are looking at a fake.

2. Too Little Detail

Since many marketers tend to get their fake reviews written by online freelancers on the cheap, you will find that fake reviews will be scant in detail. For instance, if you were looking to purchase a vacation cruise, a fake review will talk more about persons that were on the cruise rather than what is good about the cruise. Fake reviews will tend to stray away from the description of the product and include words such as ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my husband’ among others more often so as to appear more credible. Sophia Bell’s Yoga burn reviews, for example, are personal and filled with fun.

3. Suspect Timing

One of the most effective ways of catching the bad ones is by looking at the times when a review was posted. Most lazy marketers order and post all their ratings in a very short period. If you find a product or service has a batch of five-star ratings posted in a short space of time and very few before or after that, it is highly likely that you are looking at fake reviews.

4. Suspect Language

A real review will typically be more moderate in praise of the product or service. If you find any reviews with a lot of marketing speak that are more like an online commercial or ones full of technical jargon, you need to be more careful before purchasing. Authentic product ratings tend to offer specific information on how the quality of the service or the performance of the product, and will use everyday language that a person would use in face-to-face conversation.

5. Too Brief

A very short post can also be one of the signals that it may be false. If a person were to purchase something, use it, and really like it, they would take the time to write a meaningful post. This is especially true for things like yoga programs or a vacation on TripAdvisor, where someone actually has to do it to write anything sensible about it. Since contract writers do not get much for their efforts, they likely rush it so they can write as many as possible to make it worth their while. As such, you may find that such reviews may be shorter and sloppier than general. They tend to be full of grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, signaling that the ratings are outsourced to someone in the developing world.

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