Tech Magazine

The Problem of Fake Customer Reviews: Web Content Gone Bad

Posted on the 22 August 2011 by Wardknows
Can anyone put a price tag on a good review for a product or service that is being sold by an online retailer? It appears that the answer may be "yes", as I am noticing an uptrend in advertisements for web content writers with experience in producing glowing and wonderful product and/or service reviews on a pay-per-review basis. What could be said for this trend, except for: "desperate times call for desperate measures"?

If you are like me, you probably give a lot of weight to the reviews that are posted on websites for products or services that you are considering buying. Now that it has become clear that many of the product and/or service reviews in cyberspace are fake, it seems like it is inappropriate to give this content as much weight as it has received in the past.Fake reviews are written and placed by either the person selling the product or service or by someone who was contracted to do the "dirty work" on behalf of the business. This problem has penetrated websites in all business sectors, especially those that are currently depressed or extremely competitive, like travel, tourism, real estate sales & property rentals; so buyer beware, especially when reading reviews in these categories.  To make matters worse, there are website owners who will actually pay money for fake bad or negative reviews to be written and posted about a competitor's products and/or services.  It is clear that product reviews are one type of content on the web that is increasingly becoming corrupted. It's hard to know which reviews to trust.Detecting Fake ReviewsA lot of websites have mechanisms in place that prevent or severely restrict the possibly of fake reviews being posted, which includes registering the IP address and email address of the review poster; but this is mainly to prevent the fraud of the same person posting multiple reviews on the same website for the same product/service in a certain time frame. Unfortunately, there are many ways that IP address and email address registration can be circumvented using some very inexpensive software tools and a little creativity.  Since fake reviews are becoming rampant on the web, consumers need to do some extra leg work to find trustworthy product and service reviews online. The best way to detect fake reviews is to make sure that there are more than a few reviews for a product or service with posting dates that span over several months or years, since it is difficult to fake multiple positive reviews over a long time frame.  In the end, I think the result of "product review fraud" will be an increasing dependence on reviews from trusted sources. 

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog