Over the past couple of months, the world has changed. With billions of people around the globe ordered to stay indoors, the economy is struggling, the climate is improving, and we are online so much that Netflix has lowered its quality to avoid breaking the internet.
One of the consequences of being stuck inside is that we are turning to online shopping more than ever before. It is safer to get essential items delivered. Those items that are not essential are now only available online.
Buying goods and services online is not only convenient, but it also comes with the advantage that you can compare products before committing. The problem is that many online reviews are fake. Companies pay websites to promote their products, and some pay freelancers to write fake 5-star customer reviews.
How can you tell if reviews are fake? Follow these steps.
There are some excellent sites comparing products and services. They show the pros and cons of each option before coming to a tentative conclusion. However, other sites will provide reviews for particular brands that are bought rather than earned.
The key to discerning which reviews are fake is by looking for uniform positivity. If a website only has good things to say about a product or service, chances are they are being paid to say just that. When the website is not comparing the brand to any other option, this is even more likely the case.
That said, even with reviews that seem measured and fair, you should always compare them to customer reviews.
Fake Customer Reviews
Of course, customer reviews may also be fake, and it is important to know how to determine which are real. The good news is that there are fairly simple strategies you can use.
My first port-of-call is to look at the negative reviews. Many online stores allow you to filter reviews according to the number of stars. Click on the one and two-star reviews and see what they have to say. These reviews will obviously be very negative. This does not mean the product is definitely bad, but you can get an idea of whether their complaints are legitimate.
Some are clearly unfair. For example, someone may give an item of clothing one star because their size was unavailable (this happens more than you would imagine). But others will tell you about real issues. If a number of customers are reporting the same problems, this is a good indication that the issue is legitimate. Some complaints may not bother you, while others will be deal-breakers.
While some reviews are obviously fake because they are overly-positive and often poorly written, others may be overly-eloquent and hit on all the right talking points. These customer reviews, which read more like professional write-ups, are regularly paid jobs. The company tells paid reviewers what to focus on and how to put certain aspects across. If there are a number of eloquent reviews that hit on all the same points, you can be fairly confident that they are written by paid reviewers.
There are sites that aggregate reviews from former employees of their work experience. With services like health care, these reviews can be very telling. Assistants will speak of how doctors keep patients waiting unnecessarily, how clinics take advantage of people’s desperation to charge more, and so on.
There are always going to be disgruntled employees. Again, the key here is to see if a number of former employees repeat the same complaints.
There are many bogus reviews online, for products and services across the board. However, if you are savvy and take your time, you can sift the real from the fake.
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