There is a disturbing paradox on Amazon that causes sellers to buy fake reviews for their products. It has wreaked havoc on the legitimacy of their review system.
For a new product to gain traction and sell on Amazon, it needs reviews. To get reviews, it needs sales. So sellers buy reviews to give their products an artificial bump over their competitors. Sellers artificially inflate the quality of the products you and I buy. The customer’s best interest goes to the wayside. You buy 2 star quality products masquerading as 5 star products.
Considering that nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase and that Amazon shows no signs of being able to prevent this from happening at scale, this is a permanent problem.
It’s like any crime. You can catch and punish a few offenders but you’ll never prevent the crime itself from happening again forever.
We’re on our own in spotting these bad actors. Luckily, there are tools that make it easier to spot fake Amazon reviews. If you’re making an important purchase OR you’re an Amazon seller who is getting fleeced by cheating competitors, you need to learn about them.
You need to use them.
Three Tools for Spotting Fake Amazon Reviews
There are 3 tools that will help you spot fake review on Amazon relatively accurately.
#1 FakeSpot Chrome Extension (Plugin)
FakeSpot is the Creme de la creme of the fake review spotters. If you use just one tool, use FakeSpot.
It is a web-based software, but it also has a handy Google Chrome extension that verifies reviews directly on websites.
Provides A-F grade of product and company.
Shows if the product has had reviews removed by Amazon in the past.
Supports Amazon, BestBuy, Sephora, Steam, Walmart and even hospitality sites TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Shows review and price trends.
Shows alternative products and their review grades.
#2 ReviewMeta Chrome Extension (Plugin)
If you want to have more control over how you’re analyzing reviews on Amazon, ReviewMeta is for you. The sophistication behind ReviewMeta is amazing. Personally, I find it to be overkill but it is perfect for sellers who need proof that a competitor is cheating.
I love their adjusted review rating. It shows what the true review score should be after removing what they believe to be illegitimate reviews.
Here’s a quick video from the good folks at ReviewMeta explaining how they help buyers make better decisions on Amazon.
The Review Index is nowhere near as robust as ReviewMeta or FakeSpot but it’s worth checking out. At the time of writing, it only works on electronics, gadgets and appliances.
I found that The Review Index was very helpful to organize the substance of the reviews. For example, The Review Index can organize the reviews and show me the ones relating to how the product fits (see image below).
It does this with a lot of other qualifiers like comfort, battery life and more.
Maybe over the coming years it will become more powerful but in the meantime, I’d recommend FakeSpot or ReviewMeta.
Amazon tries to police the fake review epidemic but they can never completely solve it. Use tools like Fake Spot, Review Meta and The Review Index to protect yourself from misleading products.
These tools aren’t just for Amazon buyers. They’re also for sellers who believe their competitors are cheating the system. If you find that a competitor is faking reviews, report them! Contact [email protected] and let them know about the offender. Be upfront and let them know you’re a competitor and why you believe the other seller is cheating.
If you have a product on Amazon, know that there are legitimate ways to get reviews. Check out companies like Feedback Genius from Seller Labs and JumpSend by Jungle Scout to collect more reviews without violating the Amazon terms of service.