Words can be deceptive, if you take everything at its face value. Ergo, when we need to rely on someone's opinion, to make a decision, discretion is of utmost importance. One form of 'informed opinion' is a product review, that substantially influences our purchasing decisions. In the Internet marketplace, reviews hold even more importance, as the customer doesn't have direct access to the product.
An expert review of a product or another customer's opinion, who has used the product, largely influences us. Many gullible customers have been duped by manufacturing companies and marketing firms, into buying low quality products, using the smokescreen of a seductive, but false review. If you are one of the many consumers who have been tricked into buying stuff, influenced by such fake reviews, it's time you know how to spot them. In the following lines, I am going to inform you how to spot a dud, and save yourself from falling into the seductive trap of a honeyed product review.
Ways You Can Spot Fake Online Reviews
I shop online quite frequently, as it saves time and money. After personally having been cheated by bogus product reviews and learning from that experience, I have developed the knack of spotting fake reviews. Here are some of the red signals to watch out for.
There are many marketing agencies and manufacturing companies which pay people to write good reviews of their products on web pages of online retail stores. Typically, these people write very short reviews, with cliched sentences like 'Of all the shaving creams I have used, this one is the best ever.' Vague and banal wording, which sounds 'too good' to be true, should be watched out for. Look out, if the same product has multiple reviews published within a short time frame. That is a classic sign of a paid review-writer's job.
High on Drama, Low on Detailing
Low on actual details and high on drama! That is another conspicuous sign of a fake review. The reviewer will be all gaga about the product, praising it as the best product ever purchased, without going into much detail about its features. No cons will be discussed, and there will be more talk about how he is happy with the product, rather than 'why' he is happy with it. Low detailing is a sure sign that the review is not written out of experience.
The perfect product is a myth and therefore, any review which proclaims a product to be nothing short of a miracle, should be considered with a large dose of skepticism. Especially in case of medical products, don't believe in reviews which proclaim them to be the ultimate cure for multiple diseases. Some of these fake reviews just fall short of hailing some medical products as the 'Elixir of Youth'. When no sources are cited to base information on, and the review is promising the moon, beware! It is best, not to buy a product on the basis of dubious claims and promises.
Investigate the Reviewer
Investigate the reviewer if he has a profile. Fake reviews will be typically written by people with suspiciously common first names like Joe, Jim or some alias. This fact, combined with too prosaic or too imaginative text, points toward a fake review. The profile might reveal other reviews written by the same person. If you find him reviewing the same product over and over again or multiple products with similar wording and style, you have spotted a professional fake review-writer! Needless to say, you can safely ignore his review!
Absence of Unbiased Criticism
A real review will present the pros and cons of using a product, and not just the positive aspects. There will be in-depth analysis of every feature and a balanced perspective. If you find the reviewer to be too inclined towards the positive aspects, while almost neglecting any minus points, you should be skeptical.
Anatomy of a Good Review
So, what are the features that make a good review? Detailing, experience, unbiased evaluations and frank opinions are the hallmarks of an honest review. There will also be detailed analysis of pros and cons of the product. A good honest review talks about 'the essentials', which you would want to consider when buying the product.
They are either written by experts with knowledge about the product or by customers like you, who have the same concerns as you have. Such reviews strike a chord, because they exactly discuss 'what you need to know'. Go to specialized websites and online magazines, which have expert researchers on their panels to review the products or sites like Amazon, Consumerreports and Better Business Bureau, which offer credible reviews.
Not all reviews are reliable, but that doesn't mean there aren't any reliable ones out there and you shouldn't shop online. There are many dedicated websites, which actually test products and present unbiased assessments, which can illuminate you about many finer points. The trick is to read as much as you can about a product from various sources, online as well as off-line, before making a decision. This will help you insulate yourself from fake reviews and let actual facts dictate your decision.