Just recollect when was the last time you purchased a product or service online. Do you remember the delivery executive asking you to rate the service? This is the exact point we are going to discuss in this article.
In this digital era, customer reviews and ratings have become the backbone of a business that operates online, they can easily make or break it. Let’s take a common example – every time we plan to dine out, the first thing we do is to check out the place online and read reviews given by the previous guests before booking the table. Also, while shopping online, we set customer reviews as one of the solid parameters to measure the product’s quality. But, do we actually know how many of those reviews are fake?
Understand the fake online review scam
Believe it or not, at least 40% of those reviews are fake! On social platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp, there are hundreds of groups with names like ‘Amazon reviews group’ and ‘Flipkart rating group’ that are meant to help sellers attract customers with fake reviews. If you visit one such page, you will find posts like “XX $ for XX reviews". Such groups are common platforms for sellers and reviewers to earn profit by conning innocent buyers. There are many websites like fiverr.com, where if you search with the keyword ‘reviews’, you’ll find many reviewers’ profile that read bios like, “I will provide you positive and five-star ratings on Google Play Store, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business reviews and good feedback services."
Companies or individuals who sell products online, not all of them but most of them appear on the top of your e-commerce app’s search result with a 5* rating or good customer reviews. By ranking themselves top on search results through fake ratings and reviews, such sellers try to influence the buying decisions of their customers. Fake reviewers are also used to bring down a product from the top and this is the reason some people are even paid to leave negative reviews on some products.
Some facts about the reviews on E-commerce giant Amazon
- 99.6% of the fake reviews on Amazon are five-star reviews.
- Amazon allows you to report abuse in a review or fake, misleading and inauthentic reviews.
- Recently, Amazon had deleted 20,000 fake reviews through its fake reviews-weeding mechanism.
- There are around 215 million reviews on Amazon out of which more than 2 million reviews are unverified.
- Around 61% of reviews for electronic products on Amazon are fake.
Fake Reviews – The Stats you must know
- Only 3 to 10% of real buyers actually review a product.
- 82% of American adults check reviews before buying the products.
- 16.2% of customers say that they make their buying decisions based on ratings and reviews.
- 20.8% of American adults say they only trust reviews by verified buyers and 4.1% say they don't trust reviews at all.
- A survey in India found that 62% of consumers across 220 districts say they found a positive bias in the reviews, so there is awareness, but what lacks, is the ability to identify fake reviews.
- 54% of customers would not buy a product if they suspected it to have fake reviews.
- 95% of customers suspect faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores.
- 93% of buyers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
- 34% of consumers say that their low product reviews have not been published by e-commerce sites.
How can you identify fake reviews?
- Look at the reviewer's profile, if he or she has reviewed just one product, and it's all gathered about it, then take it with a pinch of salt.
- Look at the timing of the review. Say between July 2020 and September 2020, the product has suddenly broken an average or bad reviews tree and received only five-star ratings and good reviews, it is very likely that the seller hired bots or an agency during that period to generate fake reviews.
- If a product has only five-star reviews, then it is a red flag.
- Spot reviews with similar language. If the product you are looking at has 50 reviews and 25 of them are from unverified buyers and they've all left just one-word reviews like amazing, brilliant, must buy, then don't go for it.
- Today, there are many websites that allow you to verify reviews. Feel free to run a quick check when you buy something online next time.
- Check whether the review has too much emotional language. If the review has too many emotional words like great, wonderful or amazing, then that could be written by a company employee.
- Don’t trust the highest and lowest ratings. They could be either written by company employees or rivals.
- Look for bad grammar or spelling errors. These are signs of fake review.
We’re living in an age where opinions can be bought and sold. So don’t just trust online reviews blindly. Be a smart consumer. Look for verified buyers or run a quick research on the product you’re looking to buy. on the worst case, try reaching out to the reviewers with your questions on the product. Fake reviewers won’t bother responding. The genuine ones will most probably get back to you.