Fake news is all we hear about today. To our, and your, surprise, however, there are actually a lot of fake reviews left for businesses on Google, Facebook, Yelp and numerous other platforms. In fact, Amazon continually faces a huge problem with users gaming the system with fraudulent reviews in order to get refunds or payments from businesses selling on Amazon. It’s gotten so out of hand that companies like Fakespot exist to help you find and eliminate the fakes.
Everyone knows how important reviews are in today’s digital ecosystem, not only for sales and trust factors, but also SEO and content marketing. These six tips will help you spot those fake reviews so you can keep your white hat on.
No Personal Info
Does the reviewer have any profile information? Do they have social connections, a picture, a real name, and other reviews or posts? If the answer is “no,” there’s a good chance it’s a fraudulent account. Google has started labeling users as a “Local Guide” if they leave enough verified reviews and pictures with local businesses, and Yelp has a similar Elite Squad program. These labels help to combat fake accounts that just leave noisy filler reviews.
Beware of the random one-star or five-star review if it seems out of place. If you’re used to get all 4’s and 5’s and you suddenly get a 1, it could just be a fake. Investigate the circumstances of the reviewer’s claim and determine if it’s fraudulent. If you’re used to getting 2’s and 3’s and you suddenly get a 5, just take a glance and make sure it’s on the up-and-up. Extremely one-sided feedback may be fabricated, so try to tie it down to a specific transaction, if possible.
Too Many Too Quickly
Check your timestamps; they’re there for a reason. A review left at 3:00am on a Monday is likely not legitimate. Likewise, 20 reviews over the course of two weeks is probably cause for suspicion, especially if there is no activity before or after that period. An abnormal review pace should send up that little red flag in your head.
If it sounds too generic (almost like it was copy-and-pasted), get it outta there. Spam or paid reviews often post in bulk. The reviews purposefully stay as vague as possible so they can apply across multiple industries and businesses. Is the review full of irrelevant details and centered on anything that takes the focus away from the business’ service? If so, it’s probably a bad review.
“I,” Verbs & Small Words
Did you know that when you lie, you tend to talk about yourself more or use action-sounding stories in place of real insight? Not only that, but it takes more mental energy to fabricate a situation than to relay a real one. As a result, the writing levels of fake reviewers drops from a college level to a middle school level. Keep this piece of information in your noggin when you’re checking the quality of your reviews and be suspicious.
A review may also be fake if it contains a short, one-liner or (worse) just a star rating. It’s easy to pump up an average rating of a business by just throwing in a bunch of 5-star reviews. Quality reviews are the ones that explain exactly why the product or business is good. Watch out for the ones that offer no details of the experience, have poor grammar and come off as sloppy.
Research continues to indicate that consumer reviews are one of the top (if not THE top) trust factors in 2018. This means that there’s an increasing pressure on business to generate quality reviews and maintain a positive online reputation. Don’t turn to review mills, however easy it may be, as bing black-listed is never worth it. Don’t get a reputation for being fake news, and your customers will trust and respect your more for it.
Rannko’s Review Management is the most affordable platform on the market that will help you monitor your reviews across multiple platforms from one place and respond in real-time. Learn more today to see how Rannko can benefit you!