Customer Reviews: How to Know What You’re Reading is Real

This week I learned something that a lot of people probably already know. I’ve known about fake customer reviews but did not know about this specific company. For some reason, this company has really made me think about it more than I normally would. There is a skincare company that has been accused of forcing its employees to create fake reviews for their products. The company allegedly sent out emails to employees telling them step by step how to write the fake reviews.  I won’t mention the company by name because they aren’t the topic. What they’re doing is. I will say that there was proof of the company doing so and the FTC got involved.

Our topic today is customer reviews. How do you tell the difference between real reviews and fake ones? Here’s a small list of ways to tell.

  1. Language. A fake review will have a certain language that is used. The review will often shine too much light on a product, making it seem as if it’s too good to be true. Another sign is if the product name is used too much.
  2. Purchase location. Let’s say a product was released on Samsung’s website but has not been released on Amazon yet. If there are reviews for said product on Amazon that do not explicitly say the consumer purchased the product from Samsung, it’s likely a fake.
  3. Reviewer’s account. The reviewer’s own account can tell you what you need to know. The skincare company I mentioned earlier would allegedly have employees create multiple fake accounts in order to leave reviews. The employees would have to leave reviews on products that had nothing to do with the company just to make them seem legit.
  4. Horrible reviews. A lot of times a competing company will post fake bad reviews. These reviews are scathing and damaging to the product and the company that owns the product. One way a company combats bad reviews is to downvote them or make more positive fake ones to drown the bad out.

There are many wonderful and horrible reviews out there. My point is not to dismiss 5-star and 1-star reviews altogether. The point I’m making is to read them carefully. If something seems too good to be true, it often is. The reviews you actually want to read are the mid-star reviews. The ones who will tell you both the pros and cons of a product. Those are reviews with truth to them.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is be careful out there. This time of year can be dangerous for shopping. Both online and in-store. Purchase with care and read those reviews!

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