Most Reviews are Fake

Most reviews are fake.  It should not come as a big surprise to anyone that many 5 star and 1 star reviews are fake. What surprises me is too many people take reviews at face value.  Here is my system for weeding out fake reviews from the real ones.

Use the Olympic method

I adopted the Olympic method to evaluate product reviews.  First I discount all 5 star reviews.  As what happens in Olympic scoring the highest score and the lowest score is thrown out.  This is to prevent bias.  For reviews it does the same thing.  Many fake 5 star follow the same pattern.  They are too long for a review.   For the very long 5 star reviews they read as though a professional writer wrote the review.   Fake reviews follow the rules for writing you learned in high school or college.  There is a central thesis statement in the first one or two sentences followed by the arguments.  Each argument is presented separately in each paragraph.  Otherwise known as one idea per paragraph each supporting the thesis.  The review flows easily from each argument to the next.  This is NOT how people write casually when creating a review.

Short is not always better

5 star reviews can also be fake when too short.  If you read reviews that are nothing more than “this is the best” or “great” or “This is perfect” they may be fake.  I still discount those reviews as well because they tell me nothing about why the product is the best or great.  I want to know how the product performed by someone who has taken the time to use the product before writing a review.

1 star reviews are problematic at best

Giving a product a one star review for a defective item is understandable.  Especially if it does not work straight out of the box.  I find that many one stars reviews are more about a person is not happy with some imagined grievance.   A one star review can also be malicious from a competitor to try to damage the reputation of  business.   No matter why someone writes a one star review I discount it.

What should you believe in reviews?

I like to focus on the three star reviews. I find three star reviews read like how a person including myself writes.  That is stream of consciousness.  The review may be a few sentences or even a paragraph.  The review is more to the point stating relevant facts without the superfluousness that you read in fake reviews.   I also read the four star reviews for the same reasons.  The four star reviews are more believable from a credibility standpoint.  I rarely give a five star review myself because there is nothing perfect.  A product will deserve a five star review when it performs as expected over an extended period of time.

Can any star review be faked?

Yes of course it any review can be fake.  I find many professional reviewers overstate the benefits while downplaying or not telling you problems.  I see this all the time when I read reviews on electronics.  It should not come as no surprise that many reviewers feel an obligation to give even a mildly positive review because their organization depends on advertising from those same companies.

If it is too good to be true….

It is up to each person to educate themselves on the products they are buying.  This does not mean you must become and expert.  What is means is to use what you know about how a products should work and trust your gut instincts.

 

 

Written by James Simons