I often wonder if I can trust the reviews I read on Amazon.com. Some of the reviews are totally glowing, while others are totally down on the product. How can these both exist for the same product? I’ve heard that a lot of Amazon reviews are fake, and are either created by computers or the seller pays people to write them. What do you think?
We all count on Amazon reviews to help lead is to the correct purchase. It seems like an obvious choice: You browse to the item you want on Amazon.com, and do comparison shopping based on the reviews you find there. In a perfect world, the reviews would all be honest, helpful, and meaningful.
In the real world, however, the reviews are often dishonest, unhelpful, and not very meaningful. Because Amazon.com only directly sells a small percentage of the products you find on its site when you search for items, it’s very difficult to manage and approve all the reviews that appear on its pages. (At this point, the majority of items sold on Amazon are sold through private vendors, using the Amazon store front to sell their wares. Ken has been known to sell used tech products this way in order to recoup some of his costs and upgrade to new items. It works, really! And none of his reviews are fake!)
The problem is that no matter how hard Amazon tries to ensure that its reviews are “real,” too many crooks selling things on Amazon either find ways to write reviews themselves, hire friends or compatriots to positively review their products, or even write software that creates reviews that look like the work of humans. We’ve all seem this—myriad reviews that are essentially all the same, hoping to trap unwary users.
What’s a shopper to do? If you can’t trust the reviews on Amazon, how can you make use of them to make informed shopping choices? Common sense helps, of course—if all the reviews are glowing, you know something’s likely wrong. Sure, some products deserve 100% praise, but not many.
There is a Web site you can use, as well, to help untangle the mess of Amazon reviews. Check out the site http://www.fakespot.com--you paste an Amazon URL from your Web browser into this site, and it analyzes the reviews and attempts to let you know how valid it thinks the reviews are, as a whole. It’s not foolproof, but it can give you a little more information on the validity of the reviews you find on an Amazon product. As with any other information, take it with a grain of salt, but it’s possible that fakespot.com can help you weed out the honest human-generated reviews from the fake reviews.