Skeptical About Amazon Product Reviews? How to Find the Honest Ones

Skeptical about Amazon Product Reviews? Here is How to Find the Truth

Adding fake reviews to an Amazon product to increase its credibility is a common practice. Manufacturers pay writers/freelancers to write up fake reviews to make their product look good or a rival’s product look bad to the customers. Manufacturers also give free products in exchange for an honest review (that’s legal, by the way), but some of these reviews may also be fake/biased.

In all these fake attempts to sell the product, the customer is always the one who has to pay the price. So as a customer, how can you protect yourself from fake reviews and buy a product based on honest reviews? There is no surefire way to separate fake reviews from honest ones, but you can identify most of the fake reviews with some common factors. In this post we will show you how to identify fake Amazon reviews and shop smartly.

Below we have listed some factors that can prove a review to be fake.

Review Length

Paid reviews are usually four to five lines long simply because the reviewer doesn’t have much information to share as he/she didn’t test the product. Also, the usually aren’t too short, as the manufacturer paying for the fake review requires a good description from the reviewer. I have also seen people asking for fake reviews on freelance sites, and they mostly write in the description that they need reviews four to five lines long.

Check Vague Tone

Most fake reviews usu ally consist of vague words that don’t actually tell what a product can really do, like “good,” “amazing,” “the best,” “excellent” or “very bad,” “pathetic,” “waste of money,” etc.

Identify-Fake-Amazon-Reviews-Vague

Check Rating

Fake reviewers mostly give a five-star or one-star rating of the product. This isn’t a good way to detect a fake review, but combined with other factors in this list it creates a good base.

Identify-Fake-Amazon-Reviews-Customer-Rating

Check Verified Purchase

Amazon shows a “Verified Purchase” button below the reviewer’s name meaning they actually bought the product from Amazon. This is a solid factor that may mean that the review is honest. However, there is also a chance that the product was received for a discount price in exchange for a review. (It may be a fake one as well.) On the other hand, not having a “Verified Purchase” button doesn’t confirm that a review is fake because the user might have bought the product from another retailer.

Identify-Fake-Amazon-Reviews-Verified-purchase

See the History of a Reviewer

If you click on the name of a reviewer, you will be able to see their complete profile along with their recent reviews. If you see they constantly write negative or positive reviews with the same tone, then there is a good chance that their reviews are fake. Also, if they reviewed multiple products in a short period – like three to four products per day – then they might be being paid for the fake reviews.

Identify-Fake-Amazon-Reviews-Reviewer-profile

All these above factors alone might not be able to prove a review is fake, but combined they could become solid evidence.

Fakespot is a service created to identify fake Amazon product reviews. The website uses different smart algorithms to identify fake reviews such as verified purchases, reviewer history, and reviewer writing style. All you have to do is paste the URL of the product, and Fakespot will tell you what percentage of the reviews are fake or honest. For example, I checked Photive Bluetooth Headphones, and it showed 71.4% of the reviews are of low quality. After that I manually checked the reviews myself, and I was skeptical about many of them.

Identify-Fake-Amazon-Reviews-Fakespot

You can use Fakespot to get an idea of what you are dealing with and then use the above tips to confirm if the reviews are really fake or not. I also recommend you don’t depend solely on Fakespot for finding fake reviews as it is still machine-based. Always do your own search and then buy the product. If you know any other ways to spot a fake Amazon review, do let us know in the comments below.

9 comments

  1. As you said in your article there are sites that pay you for a dishonest review,
    some will provide you a review others or give you a choice out of a few.
    will let you write your own,
    I would use the site then write a 1 star review saying it’s soliciting reviews
    if you see 2 or more identical 5 star of 1 star reviews report it to Amazon for rating manipulation. Amazon has been cracking down on those practices, by account banning and lawsuits.
    Other sites will sell you an item for a reduced price, sometimes free other times at a flat rate (like a $50 flashlight for about $5, on the condition you give it an honest review)
    these are stated in the review with a line like “i recieved this item at a discounted rate in exchange for an honest review” (that’s not the actual line)
    Personally I use amazons filtering to skip all 5 star reviews, because I want to know the flaws of a product before I buy it.
    I also ignore opinion based reviews and stick with reviews on facts based reviews.

  2. Oh dear, Overlord_Laharl! I am a genuine buyer and apparently I have written 304 reviews on Amazon. And I quite often leave 5-star reviews for products on Amazon. In fact, I left a 5-star review for a Wenko 21204100 Soap dispenser Brasil White only yesterday because I liked it so much!

    On the other hand, I often leave one-star reviews too – even for products that seem to have hundreds of glowing reviews, like the GS II 2200mah Huge Battery.

    So going on your theory that all 5-star reviews are fake, you wouldn’t actually read any of mine even though I am a top reviewer on Amazon….

  3. I rarely look at the five star reviews because they are obviously skewed. I start at the one star review and go from there. Usually I will get enough information there that makes up my mind with turn offs like language, etc. I also take notice how the revews show up. With overloaded 5 stars it’s obvious the reviews are rigged.

  4. Excellent article – I never stopped to really think about fakes, although I automatically filter “useless” reviews such as the ones you took good note of as fake…

    Which really lit an internal light bulb there, and “Aha!” moment as to the probable root cause of the problem : misleading opinion manipulation by use of censorship disguised as social correctness.

    I am thinking in particular about that Canadian store with that red triangle. I have TRIED to leave honest, real-life based reviews about items I’ve purchased there with good as well as bad points accurately described and my reviews have been systematically refused, while the type of reviews you describe as typically fake simply fly through: Positive reviews with typically nothing specific about the item and negative reviews that are so dumb you can’t help but dismiss them because the problem described makes it obvious the user was at fault.

  5. I’m one who sometimes receive products to review at a lesser price and I try to be as honest as possible. Sometimes I have other more important things to do or I take an extended time to test the products which often results in backlog as I keep receiving notices to review both from amazon and the supplier so there are times that I play catch-up and review several products at a time that was delayed for a true evaluation.. Also my computer does not have a web cam nor do I own a camera good enough to augment the review, the worst thing to do is give a nice review with sloppy images.. I make it a point to inform the maker that I do not have these things in order to give them a chance to reconsider the invitation. Bottom line is I try not to make my reviews seem like spam or some kind of robot but often four to five lines is all I have to add when I read the extensive reviews from others which often turns into repetition.. So, though I seem to go alone the lines of what you call a “Fake Review” I assure you that some of us are honest in our evaluation even though they aren’t as lengthy or filled with fluff as others. Often I enter humor into my reviews especially when other reviewers have described their experiences completely. So, follow these guidelines but know that they’re not all bogus. To me the most useless reviews are the ones who nag about it being delivered late, the wrong product then they expected (from not thoroughly reading the description) and breakage either from misuse or delivery.. These gripes have nothing to do with the product itself unless it was a deformed item and even still amazon will make good for it through the provider without having to report it first.

  6. Hello to all,

    Sorry to say but I do not agree with the first one. It happens to me when I bought a product from a site like ebay I replied with a simple : ” the product is good and it dose what it supposed to do.Excellent.” As you can see most of the time buyers do not say many things and a simple line of words is enough.!
    On the contrary , people who actually are friends or working in the same company of the product you have bought actually do write long reviews of the product. So do not trust reviews generally. !!!!!!!!!!
    If you are buying from ebay always check the negative feedbacks of the seller and especially the answers the seller had given to negative feedbacks. !!
    Have a nice day.!

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