As a leader As an online retailer in the US, Amazon sells pretty much everything. (As the logo says, A to Z.) Whether you’re shopping online for a cheap portable charger, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, or headphones for your kids, Amazon is probably your first port of call. And when it comes to choosing between similar-looking products, most people rely on user reviews.
The problem is that many Amazon reviews are fake. Unscrupulous or desperate sellers pay for positive reviews, and some offer gift cards or free products in exchange for five-star reviews. Occasionally, sellers will even solicit false negative reviews for competing products. It’s hard to know for sure what’s real, but you can reduce your risk of being scammed if you know the warning signs. We’ve put together some tips that can help.
Updated June 2023: We’ve added relevant links, information about Amazon’s Vine program, and a section on using artificial intelligence.
Fake Amazon reviews
If you are Shopping at Amazon, there’s a good chance you’ll see some fake reviews. A current report from the British government estimates that between 11 and 15 percent of consumer electronics reviews on e-commerce platforms are fake.
The majority is positive and praises the merits of a product in suspiciously glowing terms. Short five-star reviews are probably intended to trick the system by boosting a product’s ranking and visibility. But there are also more subtle attempts to get you to buy, where paid reviewers go into detail, maybe share photos, and even mention a downside along with many pros. For example, you could give a product four stars out of five, which can be very convincing.
Some sellers leave paid negative feedback to criticize competing products. These are usually one star reviews that focus on the cons and often mention another product that compares favorably to get you going.
It’s worth noting that Amazon isn’t the only ecommerce site facing the problem of fake reviews. Walmart, Target and many others have similar problems (the The Federal Trade Commission has notified more than 700 companies in 2021 and is Consider a rule that would have severe civil penalties for violations). Most of the tips discussed here are generally helpful, not just on Amazon.
How Amazon Sellers Get Fake Reviews
Sellers want to increase their sales and Reviews can do that. The reviewers want to make money or free products. That’s why the underground market for fake reviews is thriving. There are foreign companies Selling blocks of positive reviews, social media groups that organize teams of reviewers, and companies that offer all kinds of incentives to convince real buyers to leave a positive review. Sellers also offer refunds or other rewards to persuade buyers to remove or edit negative reviews. Reply All The Magic Store The episode covers some common scenarios and is a fun hearing on the subject.
How to avoid fake reviews
We’re not talking about expensive items and big brands that are easy to find serious reviews about in the media (although counterfeiting is a different problem altogether). If we may be so bold: You can find real product recommendations and honest reviews here at WIRED.
However, most fake reviews target affordable items from unknown brands that only have reviews on Amazon. While it’s not possible to avoid false reviews, you can reduce their impact on your purchasing decisions.