7 Ways to spot a fake review

The spread of fake online reviews of products or businesses is becoming a real problem, as outlined in a recent NYT article.  There are sites popping up that offer a pay-for-review service, where for a fee, they will add a positive review to Amazon, Google, Yelp, etc.

How to spot a fake reviewHere are seven ways to spot a fake review:

1.  Look at the history of the user posting a positive review – Did the user post other positive reviews of businesses unrelated to the one you’re looking at? If there was only one glowing review for a single product or business, it is most likely a fake review. Dig even further and look to make sure the account history makes sense.  Reviews for business in many different geographical location should also set off your fake-review alarm.

2. The review states who they were with – Research has shown reviews that start out by telling the reader who they experienced the product/business with are more often fake.

3. The review explicitly states the name and location of the product or business –  Reviews that contain sentences like “this was our first time visiting Taco Time in Mobile, Alabama” have a higher likelihood to be fake.

4. The review uses “I” and “me” – Fake reviews tend to overuse the first-person singular.

5. Too many adverbs – The overuse of the words “very”, “really” may indicate a fake review.

6. Too many verbs in the review – This one may be tough to spot, but overuse of verbs (“go”, “eat”, “wait”, “get”) in general happens more often in fake reviews.

7. Use of “!” or “!!!!” – Doing this, and adding positive emotion into the review may give away a fake review.  Research shows that real reviews contain less positive emotion than fake ones.

The source of this information is a paper published by Cornell University department of Computer Science.

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