Unlike so many other businesses, Amazon saw growth during the pandemic as people ordered their stuff, essential or otherwise, for delivery.
Do you ever take a moment to review your orders? You may have so many packages delivered that you wouldn’t miss one. You can check your order history in your Amazon account anytime, but you can also download your entire purchase history in a spreadsheet. Tap or click here to learn how.
Reviews are helpful when making any purchase, but you can’t always trust them. Fake reviews are a constant issue with Amazon, and it doesn’t seem like they are going away anytime soon.
Here’s the backstory
A recent study by U.K. consumer organization Which? revealed that nine out of 10 of the highest-rated Bluetooth headphones sold on Amazon were boosted by fake reviews. On top of that, some of these reviews have nothing to do with headphones at all.
Two of the nine listings had the Amazon’s Choice badge and were for completely unrelated products, including a stuffed bear and an extension cable that customers had cited as a fire hazard. Other headphone listings included reviews for puzzles and umbrellas.
The study found that these products climbed the ranks via review merging. This is a process used by legitimate sellers for related products they are selling under different listings, such as those that come in different colors.
Review merging is not allowed for unrelated products, but that’s what’s happening here. Bad actors use this method to inflate a product’s review score by hijacking reviews from other listings.
A big problem
Amazon removed 200 million suspected fake reviews in 2020 before customers saw them. It’s not always easy to spot these types of reviews, but there are some tips to avoid getting duped:
- Poor or robotic spelling and grammar errors are red flags.
- Keep an eye out for examples of review merging. Look for descriptions that don’t fit the product.
- Look for a high number of glowing reviews for a product submitted within a short time.
- If several reviews closely match each other, they were likely written by bots.
- Generic and vague reviews are also warning signs.
You can go a step further and take action against fake reviews:
- Fakespot is a free Chrome extension that detects fake reviews and alerts you of suspicious sellers. You can use it to shop on Amazon and other retailers. It’s free and easy to use. Go to fakespot.com and install the extension on any Chromium-based browser such as Chrome, Edge and Brave. The service is also available as a free app for iOS and Android.
- ReviewMeta analyzes millions of reviews and uses a rating system to give you an overall idea of a product’s feedback. Go to reviewmeta.com/blog/extensions, choose your browser and install the extension.