What the Tech: Fake Amazon reviews

Local News
WTT

It’s easy to purchase things on Amazon.com, it’s just as easy writing reviews for those products. It’s also a breeze to hire someone to write reviews for a product they’ve never even tried.

On the internet there are companies offering to write reviews for as little as $25. For a few dollars more they’ll write reviews that will include customer photos and get the label “verified purchase”. What this means is that many reviews you see on Amazon are either fake or a paid positive review.

This is a problem for shoppers who rely on Amazon reviews when deciding which products to buy. A survey by Inc. magazine found 84% of people trust online review as much as friends. That’s a bit shocking because shouldn’t everyone know Amazon is filled with fake reviews?

Amazon attempts to remove known fake reviews but there are simply too many for any company to keep track. A British consumer watchdog group “Which?” did an analysis of 5-star reviews on Amazon and found that a majority of reviews of tech products were unverified.

I did a little research and found an even more disturbing fact: many of the products chosen as “Amazon’s Choice” are just as likely to have fake reviews.

One such product, a fitness tracker under the brand “YAMAY has a solid 4.3 stars and over 22-hundred reviews. By being chosen? as Amazon’s choice, it makes the product more attractive to shoppers.

But a closer look using the fake tracker website “Review Meta”, shows there are hundreds of “unnatural reviews”. Removing those, the tracker has just 235 reviews and a 2.5 star rating. ReviewMeta gives it a failing grade because of repetitive phrases in the reviews, suspicious reviewers and reviewers who’ve written about other products by the same company.

The problem persists, the question for consumers is “how do you know which review is real and which one is fake?”

Search for the product and company outside of Amazon and check out the product using the websites ReviewMeta.com, or Fakespot.com. Don’t put too much stock in Amazon reviews, if you can’t find the product somewhere else and the company doesn’t have a web presence, it’s probably best to pay a little more for a brand name you trust.

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