Online reviews are an amazing way to figure out where you're going to eat that night, what product you're going to buy, or literally anything else. They help us avoid negative experiences and seek out the best experiences.
Personally, I use Yelp every single day. It is amazing because your friends and family haven't always used the services or products you're looking for. Online reviews provide you with up to hundreds of reviews of exactly what you need.
These reviews have saved me from a lot of unfortunate situations. For example, I have recently been looking for a new apartment. I was planning to look at what looked like a very nice building. I turned to the internet to find reviews. I read that the management was horrible, and the building was just plain gross. This saved me from even wasting my time and looking at it.
I usually take reviews with a grain of salt, because people are most likely to only leave a review if they had a bad experience. That is why it's important to read more than one review when seeking opinions.
I have always looked to online reviews for advice and suggestions, that was until I learned that they may not always be what they seem. There are actually companies that can be hired to write fake reviews, to fool consumers.
Some of these people will do whatever you need to falsely boost your business, for a fee that is. They even have techniques to make these fake reviews appear real. They continuously create great reviews, but only post a few each month so it doesn't look fishy.
Aside from reviews, you can hire people to create fake views on Youtube videos to make the videos appear more popular than they are. Many large record labels were actually caught doing this.
These people don't even check if it's legitimate business or not. If they are paid, they will say whatever you want them to, and even create fake experiences.
Although this doesn't seem like that big of a deal, it can actually be life-effecting. If you read a fake review for a restaurant, and it turns out to be bad, you're not losing that much.
If you turn to reviews to choose a lawyer, an accountant or even an apartment like I did, fake reviews could make a bad business look great, hurting you in the long-run. These people making fake reviews don't think about people like us, who trust reviews and use them to make any big purchase.
This is how to find out if they're real or a scam...
Online review companies are starting to fight back on fake reviews. They have said they have implemented software to detect fake reviews and remove them immediately.
Obviously, this software isn't perfect, and fake reviews still slip by. Luckily, it is actually easier to spot a fake review than you may think. Here are some ways to detect fake reviews on your own.
Language is the biggest indicator of a fake review. When detecting a fake review, look for extremes. This means any sort of over enthusiastic talk that a normal person just wouldn't say. As well as anything in capitals.
A study found that when it came to fake reviews for hotels, they talked more about the experience than the actual space. For example, they wouldn't talk about things such as the floor or bathroom in the rooms. Instead, they would focus on the reason they were there, such as describing a recent fake vacation or business trip.
Also, look for unnecessary jargon in reviews. Reviews that repeat the full product name or model number may be trying to use those key words to fool the search engine system. If they use a lot of technical or marketing words, odds are they aren't providing a real review because most real people don't talk like that.
Pay attention to detail:
If you're writing a review, you're going to be writing it because you had a very specific experience. If a reviewer doesn't explain why they feel a certain way, it should raise some red flags. For example, "This was an AWESOME product! I loved everything about it." vs. "I really liked this product, the battery only lasted for four hours which wasn't perfect, but other than that it worked great for me."
Look at the reviewer:
If you're unsure of a review, go to the page of the person that reviewed it. If all of their reviews are for one certain company it should raise a red flag. Also, if a person has added pictures of a product they've gotten or place they've stayed, it adds a lot of credibility.
This doesn't mean we need to avoid online reviews completely, I know I won't. Although this is frustrating and quite annoying, it doesn't mean all the reviews you're reading are garbage. My suggestion is to carefully look into reviews to try and tell if they are fake or not. Also, never rely solely on reviews.