Fake Reviews – Red Flags To Watch Out For
Fake reviews are a major issue in the online world. Customers rely heavily on reviews when deciding whether to purchase a service/product or avoid it. While there are a lot of honest businesses out there who rely on real customer reviews & testimonials, there are also fraudsters who try to play the system.
You might see businesses with a stark 5/5 rating on popular review websites, however, it’s not a good idea to take these ratings at face value.
By the end of this post, you will know how to determine whether certain reviews are false or not. Let’s get started:
Only 5/5 Reviews
One of the biggest red flags of false reviews is a 5/5 star rating on Trustpilot or Google reviews.
Both of these review services are often exploited by black hat marketing firms. They create fake accounts with random names and temporary emails, then use these accounts to post reviews.
A user on GripeO alleged this type of fake review scandal on Cardone Capital.
These reviews are hard to spot as the scammers put a lot of effort into making sure they look real. However, there are some giveaways that are often noticed in these reviews.
First off, the reviewer profile would have posted only 1 review if it is a fake one. This is the biggest giveaway as most users post at least 3-10 reviews on Google or Trustpilot, so a profile with just 1 review posted is quite suspicious.
Secondly, if the review consists of vague appreciations and doesn’t go into detail about the service/product, then there’s a very high chance that it is a false review. These reviews are written by 3rd party writers who have never even used the product/service but are writing the review for money.
Lastly, if the business listing has thousands of 5-star reviews, then beware, and instead of just looking at the rating, read the reviews. You’ll get an idea whether the reviews are fake or not after reading a dozen of them. An honest business is not perfect, they are just consistent, so they mostly receive a 4-4.5 rating maximum. Listings with 5/5 are a major red flag.
Review Websites With Advocacy Packages
This has been getting more and more popular as businesses have started realizing the value of having good reviews. More websites are popping up which allow users to post a review on business listings and in order for businesses to reply to the reviews, they have to get an “advocacy package”.
This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but these review websites should be taken with a grain of salt.
As it is a major conflict of interest.
If a website is getting paid by the business on a regular basis, then how can a reader trust their ratings of that business to be honest?
These advocacy packages really overcomplicates the situation.
Many times scammers use these websites, pay them for a nice 5/5 rating, and then use it as social proof to get more targets. This is a boon for them as most people really trust these websites and some of these websites even pretend to be affiliated with the Govt. while they aren’t.
I’m not going to name any names, but we all know of these websites and should keep our rose-colored glasses away from them.
Affiliate Disclaimers In Fine Print
There is a very high chance that you’ve visited an affiliate website that you didn’t know was an affiliate website.
Back when affiliate marketing wasn’t quite popular, these websites had a massive disclaimer banner on the top of their blogs, however, as the industry grew, people started finding ways to be more deceptive and get more conversions.
One of the ways of doing so was hiding their affiliate disclaimers in plain sight.
This misleads the readers into thinking that they are reading an unbiased and honest review even if it is not.
Affiliate sites are deceptive and shouldn’t be relied on up for honest opinions unless you know that the site admin will not recommend anything horrible. However, it’s not a good idea to trust random affiliate websites that pop up on the internet.
Fake Reviews: A Toxic Marketing Tactic
As much as reviews can be helpful, sometimes they shouldn’t be taken at face value.
Always do your due diligence and make sure you are not getting scammed by fake reviews. Hopefully, after reading through this post, you start filtering the real reviews from the fake ones.
Share the post with your friends and save them from becoming a victim to this deceptive scam.