Have you ever been researching a purchase and found a product whose reviews are too good to be true? Or read a review that was so general it could have been anything? Chances are, you’ve seen some fake reviews in your time. How can you tell if a review is real?
The folks at Wired have already written a great article on this subject, and I’d encourage you to read it. They have done a fantastic job of listing possible red flags and showing you how to get the most recent reviews for a product.
Use Fakespot to Automate Checks
If you would rather not pick through reviews manually, there is a service called Fakespot that can help. You can open the Fakespot analyzer page and copy/paste the URL for each item you’d like to check, or you can install an extension in Chrome or Firefox from the Fakespot home page (scroll halfway down for the link).
How Does Fakespot Work?
Fakespot uses artificial intelligence (AI) to spot red flags and suspicious patterns that may or may not be obvious to human observers.
To test it, I pasted a link for an automatic cat feeder I found on Amazon into the Fakespot analyzer page. Not only did it give me an overall grade for the review quality, but it also picked out some of the most helpful information that was buried in all those reviews. Here are some screen shots from the results page:
Other available information includes an overview of how reliable the reviews are, the most positive and negative reviews, seller warnings, and other helpful insights.
If you decide to install the browser extension, using Fakespot is even easier. It automatically adds insights on the selling page itself:
Note: When installing the app or extension, you may be prompted to give permission for app to know your email. This allows you to save settings without an account. You may be prompted for permission to read or change data on sites you visit. This is so Fakespot info can be added to a site that isn’t already supported (see below).
Keeping in mind that AI technology is not infallible, Fakespot can be a great tool to help you spot dodgy sellers and items using fake reviews to boost sales. While the tool is not compatible with all e-commerce sites, it does automatically cover:
To use the browser extension on sites other than these, you will need to give your browser permission to edit the page, as mentioned above.
Fakespot is an awesome free tool for automating the vetting of online reviews. With Black Friday coming up in a couple of months, would you be inclined to use this tool?