Study finds the number of fake reviews online is rising

With the holiday season underway, many of us are starting our shopping, and online sales are predicted to be huge this year. If you’re someone who does online shopping, like many consumers, you might choose to read product reviews before you make a purchase.

However, fake reviews are a growing concern. And although some major stores, like Amazon, has methods of verifying these reviews, many do not and this means that, of course, consumers are facing the ongoing challenge of determining which reviews are real and which are fake.

A recent analysis by BestSEOCompanies, which used Fakespot’s online analysis tools, was run to see if it could find the differences between fake and real reviews online. Of the 2.7 million reviews the tool looked at, it found an astonishing 39% to be ‘unreliable’.

The worst offender was the electronics category – over 42% of products in the section were found to be fake, followed closely by apparel at 46.2%. And considering that studies have found consumers are much more willing to buy electronics products with good reviews, these results are a great shock.

With social media playing such a prominent role in consumers’ daily lives now, communication between retailers and buyers is ever-growing. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are seeing more businesses using them to promote products and services. This means that consumers need to be careful when sifting through the many reviews they find.

BestSEO’s Jason Bayless said: “Customer service through social media is a new and interesting phenomenon that can provide enormous opportunities and risks for businesses. For example, failing to respond to a customer service request online can result in a digital review or complaint, yet resolving an issue online can often help a customer in the most convenient way possible.”

“Arguably, apparel may be the most difficult category to review online, as it’s impossible to know how clothes will work for other shoppers. Something that worked well for one body may not necessarily work well for others. That said, a fake review – one claiming to love a pair of pants that were never actually purchased – wouldn’t help anybody, regardless of shape or size.”

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