How to tell the difference between genuine and fake online reviews
As closures along Australia’s east coast trigger an online shopping boom, many Australians increasingly rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions.
So what is digital word of mouth really worth and can we really trust it?
- Fifty-two percent of respondents say they’ve fallen for fake reviews
- Online reviews can be difficult to moderate and remove
- If a review is not genuine, it can be detrimental to sellers and consumers
A recent survey of 1,000 Australians found that 95% of them read reviews before buying online.
Reviews.org editor Kate Reynolds, who conducted the research, says she checks reviews carefully before making any purchases, and 95% [of the survey participants] we are same.
“We want to make sure we feel well informed before making any purchasing decision,” Ms. Reynolds told Focus host Cassie McCullagh on ABC Radio Sydney.
The survey also found that 52% of participants had fallen for fake reviews and 26% did not know how to spot inauthentic reviews.
“We know that bogus reviews exist and are easy to spot, but often they are not,” Ms. Reynolds said.
Ms Reynolds said false testimony can have a wide variety of origins.
Where do fake reviews come from?
“A business can post fake positive reviews about its own products or services or offer incentives for consumers to post positive reviews or remove negative reviews,” Ms. Reynolds said.
Nick, the owner of a recycling business in Sydney, said dealing with a fake review was difficult.
“Even if you try to talk to this person, they just won’t respond,” he said.
Rod works at a club in Sydney where the owners of the restaurant there have changed.
He said it was a problem that the opinions of the old management stayed online.
“They drag them [the new restaurant owners] and it’s extremely difficult to remove these outdated reviews, ”Rod said.
Not only do fake reviews come from fake identities, but also from frustrated customers. Consumer psychologist Adam Ferrier said many negative reviews are often exaggerated.
“Consumers sometimes disproportionately blow off bad experiences for revenge and justice, when they want to be seen and heard.
“People can be too dramatic about something trivial.”
“Some companies live and die from these comments”
Jess Goldsbro runs a small business selling housewares on the Etsy e-commerce platform and her own website.
“Some companies live and die on these comments.”
Online reviews researcher Kate Reynolds said the growing importance of online reviews meant there was a great need to filter out inaccurate information.
Tips for identifying fake reviews
Here are the experts’ suggestions:
- Ignore the “exaggerated” remarks: very exaggerated comments, good or bad, are often unreliable
- Focus on mid-range reviews: ignore the top 10 and bottom 10% of comments for a more moderate outlook
- Avoid notices following a particular pattern: reviews that have repetitive wording and occur at a particular frequency are often fabricated
- Take vendor testimonials with a grain of salt: companies are likely to include or prioritize only favorable reviews
- Imperfection of confidence: sites without a perfect review score are likely to be genuine. Some companies use criticism as an opportunity to improve service and customer relations
- Use third-party review sites for more independent and impartial opinions
And while we value accurate information in making our decision, we must consider the power of feedback and remember the wise words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben: “With great power comes great responsibility.” .