Online reviews are powerful for digital marketing. Of course, this means that fake reviews have also popped up to manipulate the market.
If you’re looking to avoid being misled by fake reviews, here are a few things to watch out for.
Lots of verbs, “I”s and “me”s
Research from the Cornell University did some digging on fake reviews.
They note that fake reviews are more likely to use “I” and “me” because people tend to use personal pronouns to come across as credible when they’re lying. They’re also more prone to using verbs than nouns.
The same study noted that scene-setting is also a red flag for fake reviews.
Honest reviews are more prone to using concrete terms that actually relate to the products, services, or locations being reviewed. Fake reviews, however, opt for setting the scene instead, using more vague and subjective terms.
Generic names and/or profiles without pictures
One of the most common ways that fake reviews are made is from offshore companies that put bulk reviews out, as noted by several market firms.
Look for generic names like John or Jane Smith, obviously fake names, and/or not have a profile picture.
Look at the timing
A spike in reviews during a short time frame, as this is a sign of targeted campaigns for adding artificial reviews, though take note of exceptions.
Product launches, major holidays (especially Christmas), and the like, tend to be high seasons for reviews.
Look at the spelling and grammar
One of the best ways to spot a fake review is to look at how it’s worded.
Fake reviews tend to be outsourced to content farms, so they tend to not sound like how actual people write reviews. People who actually write reviews tend to have good, but not perfect, English, so poor and overly perfect grammar is a red flag. Look at the phrasing too; pay attention to how people phrase their opinion. A real king kong agency review is helpful and informative, but not mechanical.