Can You Spot a Fake Review?

by Chris Bjorklund


Nowadays, you can find consumer reviews for all kinds of products and services. And if you spend a little extra time analyzing them, you’ll get a lot better at spotting the fakes.

Recently, I spent a lot of time online shopping for a new vacuum cleaner. I first looked at product ratings from reputable sources, and once I narrowed down the field to the models I wanted, I had more work to do. I knew I had to dig a little deeper into the reviews before making a decision. 

I started to notice that many reviews weren’t detailed enough or just gave a generic “thumbs up” or “awesome” response. I found others with spelling errors and poor grammar. Many reviews sounded the same, kind of boilerplate, or were too old to be trusted. I spent hours searching for often-buried negative comments and saw many fake reviews along with legitimate ones. 

According to Consumer Reports (CR), there are other red flags that can help you spot the fakes. Look for clusters of positive reviews posted on the same day and check each reviewer’s history to see what else they’ve reviewed. If you still have questions about the legitimacy of a review, CR suggests using something called Fakespot. Its analyzer can tell you what percentage of all the reviews for a particular product are real at major retailers like Walmart and Amazon. 

P.S. After spending many hours poring over ratings and reviews, I ended up buying a cordless Tineco stick vacuum and I love it! 

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