If you’re planning on buying an item or using any service online, there’s a good chance that there’s a review for that particular item on the internet. They’re not that difficult to find, especially if the said item is popular. A growing concern with reviews, however, is whether you can trust them or not, thanks to the threat of fraudulent reviews.
The Internet is flooded with all types of product reviewers. Some websites are run professionally and useful for consumers. Others, unfortunately, are funded by specific companies or industries and don’t provide unbiased information.
Practically anyone can write a review of an item or a service, even if they’ve never used it themselves. Depending on how it’s done, it can be bad for the consumers, and it can be bad for the ones selling. So, to answer the question of whether you can trust product reviews online, we’ll need to delve deeper and get to know the issues first-hand.
What are reviews for?
To better answer the question of whether we can trust reviews or not, we should look into why product reviews were done in the first place. Ultimately, reviews are made so they can offer you knowledge about a particular item. It’s natural to seek information about something you don’t know much about, and reviews allow a potential buyer to check on other people’s experiences while using the product.
These experiences could determine whether an item is worth checking out without actually having the need to buy it. More than 90% of people who buy stuff online read product reviews, so you should understand what impact a false review would have on someone who’s just trying to learn more about a certain item.
Why are there even fake reviews?
The short answer to this is money. Product reviews have the potential to single-handedly influence people to buy or not buy an item. People who post untrustworthy reviews are paid by manufacturers to give a good review of their product to improve the chances of it being bought by legit customers. They are either paid with money or are given a free item for them to use. On the other hand, these fake reviewers may also be paid by a rival manufacturer to “review bomb” a competing item so their competitors will be receiving lower reviews on their products. Lower reviews mean lower chances of people buying their items.
Can you still trust online reviews?
This can be a complicated question, as the way things are done now, there aren’t many features in place to protect consumers or buyers from fake reviews. A recent study has found that at least 80% of people buying online have read at least one fake review in the past year. Even worse is that many of these people don’t even know that what they’re reading is a fake review.
Fake reviews can be found everywhere, especially on most shopping platforms like Amazon or eBay. With actual industries already cropping up, whose sole purpose is to fool consumers, credible review sites are becoming more important.
Learning to spot fake reviews is a skill that can be hard to master but is very important if you find yourself buying online often. A good thing to remember when buying online is to not be complacent with your purchases. Be vigilant, and keep yourself protected.