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How to Spot a Fake Review on Amazon

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).

Screen shot showing a button to add the Fakespot extension to Firefox, as well as a dropdown menu that shows other platforms for using Fakespot.
I was using Firefox, so the middle of the home page offered the Firefox extension.

If you are using a mobile device, you can download the app version for iOS or Android.

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:

Screen shot showing the overall review grade of "B", along with the Amazon rating and adjusted Fakespot rating.
Under the “B”, notice that Fakespot adjusts the Amazon rating based on how reliable the reviews are.
Screen shot showing a few review excerpts in groups of pros and cons.
Some pros and cons culled from the reviews
Screen shot of review excerpts pertaining to the quality or competitiveness of the product
Some more tidbits are found in the “highlights” section

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:

Screen shot of Amazon price area with added Fakespot information
Fakespot’s grade is above the price
Screen shot of item title with the link "7 highlights found by Fakespot" under the title
Link to highlights below item title

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:

  • Amazon™
  • BestBuy™
  • Sephora™
  • Steam™
  • TripAdvisor™
  • Yelp™
  • Walmart™

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?

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