As a leader online retailer in the United States, Amazon sells just about everything. (As the logo says, A-Z.) Whether you’re shopping for a cheap portable charger, eco-friendly cleaning products, or headphones for your kids online, Amazon is probably your first stop. And when it’s time to decide between similar-looking products, most people rely on user reviews.
The problem is that many Amazon reviews are fake. Unscrupulous or desperate sellers pay for rave reviews, and some offer gift cards or free products in exchange for five-star ratings. Sometimes sellers even solicit fake negative reviews on competing products. It’s hard to identify what’s real with certainty, but you can reduce the risk of being fooled when you know the warning signs. We have compiled some tips that can help you.
Fake reviews on Amazon
If you shop on Amazon, chances are you’ll see fake reviews. The majority are positive, extolling a product’s merits in oddly glowing terms. Short five-star reviews are likely meant to cheat the system by boosting a product’s ranking and visibility. But there are also more subtle attempts to persuade you to buy, where paid reviewers will go into detail, maybe share photos, and even include a scam alongside plenty of pros. For example, they can give a product four stars out of five, which can be very convincing.
Some sellers engage in paid negative reviews designed to criticize competing products. These are usually one-star reviews that focus on the downsides and often mention another product that compares favorably to try and steer you towards this one.
How Amazon Sellers Get Fake Reviews
Sellers want to increase their sales, and reviews can do that. Reviewers want to earn money or free products. This is why the market for fake reviews is booming. There are overseas companies that sell blocks of positive reviews, social media groups that organize review teams, and companies that offer all kinds of incentives to persuade genuine buyers to leave a positive review. Sellers also offer refunds or other rewards to convince buyers to remove or edit negative reviews. Reply to all The magic store The episode covers some common scenarios and is a fun listen on the subject.
How to avoid fake reviews
We’re not talking about big-ticket items and big brands, where you can easily find legitimate reviews in the media (although counterfeits are another matter altogether). If we can be so bold, you can find genuine product recommendations and honest reviews here on WIRED.
However, most fake reviews target affordable items from unknown brands that only have reviews on Amazon. Although it’s not possible to avoid fake reviews, you can reduce their impact on your buying decisions.
Start by confirming the reviewed product. Some listings have multiple products or switch the product listing to a newer version but still have older reviews attached. Your first step is to change the list of reviews from Top Reviews at Most recent to find out what the latest buyers are saying.