Amazon: fake reviews boost sales

When shopping on Amazon do you blindly trust reviews? Beware, because not all of them are true. Here's how to find out who's lying

If you want to buy something on Amazon, whether it's the latest technological gem or a cheap camping tent, you'll most likely be faced with an impressive amount of items to choose from. For this reason, the advice that everyone gives to those who want to buy something on Amazon is to read the reviews.

It is thanks to the reviews, in fact, that you can understand something about the quality of the product and the seriousness of the seller. The problem, however, is that Amazon is full of fake reviews. According to a very recent survey conducted by Wich? (an association that deals with education and consumer protection) the reviews of many products sold on the largest e-commerce in the world would be completely invented. Especially those of technology products. Which? analyzed reviews related to digital cameras, smartwatches, headphones, fitness trackers and other small electronic devices.

Fake Amazon reviews: how they influence buyers

It turns out that many sellers with the best reviews are completely unknown to tech experts and that many of these reviews come from unverified users. Amazon has a verified reviews program, where the company guarantees that the review comes from users who actually bought the item. But unverified reviews can still be posted. And, when there are many of them, they weigh in and can literally overwhelm the real, genuine ones. Most of these dubious reviews, of course, carried a 5-star rating. In addition, Which? verified the dates of the reviews: they were all published within a few hours or days at most.

How to discover fake reviews on Amazon

It's clear that if you shop on Amazon, fake reviews are a problem for you too: you should be able to understand which reviews are true and which are not, in order to be able to choose what to buy and who to buy it from. From the results of Which? survey can come some useful suggestions:

1) Always check how many reviews the seller has: if he seems to have too many compared to the items he sells, it's a clear symptom that he has bought a lot of fake ones.

2) Check the reviews of the single item: if it's an expensive item, which is unlikely to be bought by thousands of users, how come it has thousands of reviews?

3) Look at the stars: if the reviews are all 4 or 5 stars, something is wrong. Reason the opposite: skip the reviews that are too good and go down from 3 stars down, where you will find real reviews of real buyers.

4) Read the text of the reviews: the reviews bought "by the kilo" very often are not even written by humans, but by algorithms. Check to see if there are duplicate ones, if certain terms recur often, and if, most importantly, they look like they were written by a real person.