Amazon Prime Day comes with a lot of excitement – and of course lots of great deals.
However, things are never so simple on the internet, bad actors are always ready and waiting to jump at a chance to make a quick buck.
Fake reviews, from fake Apple App Store reviews to Dangerous Extensions in Google Chrome Store (Opens in a new tab) Make it difficult as a consumer to determine the truth when making purchasing decisions.
This doesn’t mean that all customer reviews are fake – plenty of users take the time to legitimately express their thoughts, but when it comes time to finally distribute your savings on a Prime Day deal, it’s important to keep in mind that not everything is always what it seems.
Amazon is dealing with fake comments
It’s no stranger to Amazon reviewing review stuffing (in which positive reviews are posted as a matter of service, or for illicit gain) and have been in the center of media attention on the matter.
These fake reviews take different forms; From small operations involving fake reviews from family and friends to large operations with companies dedicated to selling fake Amazon reviews in bulk. Previously, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had to oppose this Fake review groups on social media (Opens in a new tab).
Things got even more confusing when Amazon introduced the global ratings into its product review section, which together collected ratings from around the world. In some countries, the available product has very different specifications, and in some cases it is completely different.
In addition, with the removal of the comments section and the addition of reviews with a single click, it is becoming increasingly difficult to validate customer reviews.
Amazon regularly removes fraudulent reviews and even It stopped operating its Chinese market (Opens in a new tab) Yet difficulties in observation and growth. However, it is fair to say that it has a very huge task at hand, by 2021 Blog post from Amazon (Opens in a new tab) It reports that it has more than 300 million active customers and more than 1.9 million selling partners worldwide.
According to the post, in 2020, Amazon suspended “more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before any customer ever saw them,” and more than 99% of the reviews were driven by proactive detection.
Featured Amazon spokesperson for TechRadar’s suite of products Policies (Opens in a new tab) To both reviewers and vendor partners, expressing a commitment to “suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies.”
The spokesperson added to this, saying that Amazon uses “powerful machine learning tools and skilled investigators to analyze more than 10 million reviews weekly, with the goal of stopping offensive reviews before they are ever published.”
“In addition, we continue to monitor all existing reviews for signs of abuse and take prompt action if we find an issue. We also work proactively with social media sites to report bad actors who are planting abusive reviews outside of our store.”
How to spot fake reviews
While Amazon continues to work behind the scenes to reduce the impact of fake reviews, it appears they are here to stay in all corners of the internet. However, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself.
There are some red flags that are easy to spot; Overly promotional language, frequent reviews, reviews of a completely different product, etc. However, it can take a fair amount of legal work when you are trying to make a decision – especially fast on a rush day.
While Noonan noted that ReviewMeta data showed no change in the rate of fake reviews posted, successor’s FakeSpot tool noted an influx of fake reviews over the course of the 2020 shutdown.
Where they previously made up an average of 25-30% of all global reviews, as of June/July 2020, this has risen to 40-45% according to FakeSpot data – a number that Khalifa has never seen before.
He says the problem comes from the volume of sellers using the site as “valet parking,” claiming that it’s “impossible for Amazon to verify whether or not every product and review is legitimate.”
As explained in a recent Amazon blog post, social media groups play a huge role in the current fake reviews market.
Noonan says sellers in these groups will pay members to buy and review products: “Reviewers use their own money to buy the product, so reviews still have the ‘Approved Buyer’ badge.”
Plus, Noonan says, many sellers incentivize reviews by offering promotions with packages. They will use tricks like pre-screening customer feedback before requesting a review, and even asking people to change their reviews to 5 stars before they get the free gift.
“This is against Amazon ToS, but I personally see a note like this in about 35% of my Amazon purchases.”
In addition to the superficial information a consumer can get from a quick glance at the menu, there is a lot of deeper information that can aid in making an informed decision.
Noonan highlights unverified purchases, “easy rating” reviewers giving everything 5 stars, groups of reviews in close succession, as well as the type of language used in reviews as reliability indicators that ReviewMeta verifies.
Aside from the quality issues that may come with cheap products seeping through the net on Amazon, there are legitimate concerns about how fake reviews can also mask fakes.
Khalifa highlights how fakes of everything from Apple products to gaming equipment and components from brands like Nvidia and AMD are available on the site, which can be purchased in bulk from sites like Alibaba and Aliexpress.
Using ingredients as an example, he says, “A lot of people ask us when we give F-scores to lists like this. Because lists have been known to have fake products for sale and use fake reviews to hide them.”
“You read the reviews, you buy the product, and you don’t expect it to be a counterfeit, but it’s a malicious problem that won’t appear until the ingredient overheats.”
Fortunately, tools like ReviewMeta and FakeSpot provide customers with a faster, efficient, and secure way to shop on Amazon on this peak day.
ReviewMeta allows users to copy and paste any Amazon product URL into ReviewMeta.com to receive a full review analysis.
“We leverage algorithms and data science to examine hundreds of millions of reviews and help identify suspicious patterns in reviews,” Noonan says.
FakeSpot also has a site with similar functionality, as well as an additional browser for Chrome or Firefox and an app that enhances the buyer’s journey while shopping online with a host of features.
The first is FakeSpot Review Ratings, which uses the AF rating system to score the reliability and reliability of reviews. Next up is FakeSpot Guard, a tool that highlights sellers known to trade counterfeit products, which was added in 2020 after the team discovered a rise in counterfeiting issues. Finally, the highlights feature, which presents the most important review information to the users.
Amazon Prime Day is an exciting time to get a great deal — so make sure it’s actually a good deal you’re getting.
Whether it’s by staying skeptical and investigating reviews yourself or using tools to do legal work for you, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself online from deceptive promotional tactics.
If you see a review that you think may be fake, it is important to report it to Amazon by clicking the “Report Abuse” link that appears below the review.
Outside of Amazon, you can always read reviews on sites like ours, and keep up with what we’re saying are the best deals on Amazon Prime Day.