A lot of our decision making tend to go by reviews, don’t they? We prefer the idea of someone having validated a product or service before we go for it. The trust factor works a lot when it comes to online reviews. Well, we are here to give you a low-down on the menace of fake reviews that seem to pop up these days.

Be it a product on Amazon or booking a service apartment on Airbnb for the vacation, you do glance through the reviews for it. Star ratings come along them and that speaks volumes on what the product is about. A lot of these reviews could be an absolute bogus with them being paid by the owners or placed by their competitors. Either way, the customer is getting cheated by believing them.

Reasons why should be alert of Online Reviews:

A team of researchers from Cornell University had decided to build a program that decodes bogus and fake reviews. This was their way of checking how well people are good at figuring it out themselves. They roped in 3 students and presented them with multiple online reviews. One word of how they fared: Disastrous.

The student volunteers were convinced with some of the phony reviews as real. That’s how well these reviews are presented and got it wrong for more than 60 percent of the time.

We don’t need a better example to understand why substandard online products are filling up our homes. This is also why we end up having terrible hotel or service apartments for our vacations/work trips. ‘Opinion spams’ seems to be doing a darn good job of convincing people into their substandard products and services.

Our research got us to a popular website which helps people understand fake reviews with a ‘Fakespot Analyzer’ task bar. The Fakespot.com website claims to be trusted by billions of people all around the world by getting reviews analyzed. The website states that with excessive online shopping options, a ‘weak’ review makes a huge impact whether or not the purchase is made. Multiple news outlets have covered this website as Business Insider called this website an absolute must before buying something online.

Tips to differentiate a fake review from an original:

We stated a website which helps you in spotting a fake review. These algorithms are said to get it right 90 percent of the time. As New York Times have stated, these algorithms and websites have been approached by multiple corporate giants like Trip Advisor and Google. Even if they are in the nascent stages of development, the credibility could get compromised if these corporates step in.

There is a high chance that your 5-star hotel room could turn out to be a small hole of a room. To avoid this, we give out some tips to help you with all the fake reviews.

1. Lack of specific details

Fake reviews are a lot of generic stuff on a product. When you haven’t experienced it yourself, there’s no possibility of detailing it. Real reviews will dwell into details like the tariff, checkout timings, room interiors, room service and more. Fake and deceiving ones will be more of random terms thrown in like ‘vacation’, ‘work trip’ or ‘spouse’. It would be beating around the bush without getting to actual points.

2. Lookout for the reviewer’s language

An actual review would weigh in pros and cons. It would not be an excess of praise for the product or service. Real reviews are balanced and straight forward. Watch out for the ones which are loaded with technical or marketing jargons as their authenticity should be questioned.

3. Excessive usage of verbs

Genuine reviewers stay away from too many verbs and are focused on the usage of nouns. If a review tends to overdo them, take it with a pinch of salt. It can either be written by a paid promoter or marketing team of the company.

4. Check the profile of the reviewer

This will yield 100% results on your authenticity test. A reviewer’s profile picture and bio could speak volumes on him/her being real or fake. If you are still worried, run their reviews through an analyzing website.

These are just some tips and logic we have dwelled into about the menace that are fake reviews. It differs from products and services. Putting in multiple factors and checking reviews often, will make you a master of spotting fakes. It comes with time and practice. As always, the online world is a mix of good and bad. It’s upon us to make the most of it, the right or wrong way.

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