5 Telltale Signs of a Fake Review
Several Nordic online stores have been caught for fake reviews. We take a closer look at how you can expose the cheaters.
Several online stores have been taken to let their employees write product reviews and then publish them on their own websites without anyone marking them. The reason why they do this, we think, is largely because they stop getting real customers to get involved (what we at Lipscore often refer to as low response rates).
1. The verified buyer badge
Trying to decipher real reviews from fake? Start with the verified buyer badge.
A reviewer will only show up as a verified buyer if they’ve actually bought the product from that website and has been invited to rate and review it via an invitation from the webshop.
No badge next to a review doesn’t necessarily mean that the review is fake – the majority of online stores allow external users to leave their feedback also without an email invitation but only few – including all Lipscore customers – require logging in with a social account: Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail. They may not be verified buyers, but they are verified users whose full names are visible next to the reviews in most cases. This increases their credibility and imposes personal responsibility for the posted review on its author. Nonetheless, we recommend taking them with a pinch of salt.
2. When was it posted?
Look at the publishing dates. Does a product get a substantial injection of five-star reviews every now and then followed by a few deadly quiet days? Your detective senses should be tingling, and for good reason. Let’s consider the possibilities here.
A large bunch of reviews appearing on the same day doesn’t always have to indicate fraud. Some providers, including us, offer to send a large bunch of review requests to, for instance, past customers or physical store customers, all at once. This might result in a large volume of reviews coming in witih a short time period but you should see diversity of their rating scores and content.
3. Full name, first name, nickname, anonymous?
Our advice – scrutinize reviews that are posted with incomplete names or nicknames but bear in mind that this goes both ways – if you see a negative review posted by “Winnie the Pooh” it can be from someone who has faked a review and doesn’t want the store to know who they are.
If the reviews list is filled with reviewers’ full names and first-name-only and anonymous reviews occur sporadically, you may also assume that the reviewer contacted the store and asked to have their name hidden, which is one of the rights resulting from GDPR (for those who use Lipscore, customers can actually choose whether to show full name or only first name and first letter of the last name).
4. Suspiciously high ratings
A webshop prides in 5/5 overall rating on its website. At the same time, it is rated 3.6/5 on Facebook and 3.3/5 on Google Reviews. How come?
Some stores fake their reviews by approving only the best feedback. So, if in doubt,
scout about for reviews on other sites and compare the results. And remember: Based on the millions of transactions that go through Lipscore, we know that highly reputable online stores often have a score of 4.2-4.5. Only cheaters can get a full pot if they have a significant number of feedbacks.
5. The language from a sales script
People don’t write like Don Draper from Mad Men. Why? Because they’re not Madison Avenue advertising executives at the peak of their careers. They’re people of different backgrounds, origins, and language skills.
If the reviews read like a problem-solution sales script, furrow your brow and keep scrolling in search of authenticity – natural language, varying sentence structures, wording, maybe even some grammar mistakes and typos.
Pay attention to the length of a review as well, bearing in mind that unless the customers really, really loved the product or service or really, really hated it, they won’t take the time to leave a massive page write-up of their brand experience.
Spotting a fake review is not a piece of pie,
but if you take your time to conduct a short authenticity analysis based on our 5 steps, you should at least get a reliable gut feeling on whether you can trust the webshop you’re browsing, or not.
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