How to Spot Fake Reviews Online.

How to Spot Fake Reviews Online.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘a happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world.’ Well, this is true but bad reviews aren't always a bad thing. In fact, real and honest reviews have been helping customers make the right purchases for years, helping us to learn which products are right for us and which businesses we can trust.

We’ve all been there, sat at a computer, endlessly browsing the web, searching for a product to suit our individual needs. We often find that each company makes the same bold claims, stating to be the ‘perfect one for you’ which only leads to more uncertainty and confusion. This is usually when we head to the customer review section, to see what others have to say.

Genuine customer reviews have become so important to us when shopping that over 70% of people read them before heading to the checkout. These reviews help us to learn from real people's experiences and take the guesswork out of shopping, especially when buying new products. They are also invaluable to businesses, showing them what they are doing right and where they can make improvements.

However, it has recently been reported that companies have been using Artificial intelligence (AI) to post fake reviews. Until recently, fake reviews have mainly been created by workers in ‘online sweatshops’, where people are paid poorly to write multiple posts to disingenuously boost a business’s rating. With the rise of AI writing programs such as the popular ChatGPT. these fake reviews are now being created en masse by computers on a scale that is difficult to comprehend. 

Tripadvisor recently identified 1.3m reviews as fake in 2022 whilst the Danish company Trustpilot reported that they have also experienced issues leading them to remove 2.7m fake reviews.

Why are real reviews so important?

There are many reasons people read reviews, it is often because we are looking for something specific about a product that is important to that individual. For example, imagine you’re shopping for a natural soap bar that is good for sensitive skin, you would likely read the reviews to see if other people have experienced any flare-ups or reactions before buying.

Whether a review is good or bad isn’t important, so long as it is genuine. A real review empowers people to make clearer and more informed choices that can have a true impact on their lives. Fake reviews convolute matters and make it even harder for us to know if we are making the right decisions.

How to spot fake reviews

Here’s our handy guide to make things a little easier when reading online reviews so you can see which reviews are real and which are not:

1. Check for Unusual Language and Grammatical Errors

Authentic reviews are usually reasonably well-written and coherent. Fake reviews, on the other hand, often display unusual language, excessive capitals, and frequent grammatical errors.

2. Be Wary of Overly Generic Reviews

Fake reviews tend to be vague and generic. They often lack specific details about the product or service and offer little real insight. Authentic reviews will typically provide specifics about the individual's experience.

3. Look for Verified Purchases

Some review platforms will let you filter reviews to only view reviews from verified purchases. This increases the likelihood that the review you are reading is in fact authentic.

4. Beware of Overly Positive or Negative Patterns

If you notice a product or service has an overwhelmingly positive or negative rating with little middle ground, it could be a red flag. Authentic reviews often vary in tone and detail. Although it is not always the case, consistent five stars with generic text can be a sign of a company using fake reviews.

5. Cross-check with Multiple Sources

Don’t stop after reading one or two reviews. We would advise to cross-reference reviews from multiple sources. If you're reading reviews on a single website, take the time to look at other platforms to get a balanced opinion.

6. Use Review Analysis Tools

There are online tools and browser extensions such as Fakespot that can help you identify fake reviews. These tools examine patterns and inconsistencies in reviews to provide a likelihood of authenticity. 

7. Trust Your Gut

Ultimately, trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right or if a review seems too good to be true, it probably is. Use a combination of the above methods to make an informed judgment.

What do we do to stop fake reviews?

For all of our Friendly product reviews, we use a platform aptly named Real Reviews by Lipscore. Lipscore has always been dedicated to combating fake reviews and making RealReviews by Lipscore™️ a cornerstone of its identity. However, since January 17, 2023, they now exclusively accept reviews from verified buyers. This ensures that every review collected with Lipscore is 100% authentic, written by genuine purchasers, and verified for authenticity.

screen shot of a friendly soap bar showing a genuine review collected after a purchase by Lip Score

We choose to partner with Lipscore as they are dedicated to helping ensure that all of our reviews remain honest to help our customers make the right choices.

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