5 Facts About Online Reviews Everyone Should Know

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Here’s a hard truth about online commerce: reviews can make or break your brand and impact your business's credibility.

They can also mislead consumers by pushing them to make decisions about your brand that aren't based on real facts. Here are five ways to tell that a review isn't authentic.

5 Facts About Online Reviews Testimonial

The Reviews Are All Positive, All Negative, Or Polarized

When the pendulum swings from one extreme or another, something's not right.

Either there are trolls lurking to bring the brand down, or there are in-house "shills" posting exaggerated positive reviews.

Sure, a product or service can actually be incredible or downright awful, but it's quite unusual for a product to only have a polarized reception.

More realistically, if a customer is not 100% happy, they are more likely to post two- to four-star reviews with details that only a real consumer would know. These mixed reviews are more credible than a vague review with the highest or lowest marks.

The Reviewers Don't Have A Clear Identity Or Seem To Have Dubious Monikers

The identity of shills and trolls will either be masked or fabricated. Trust your gut when you see names that simply don't seem authentic. Anon7685 and Anon2383 who both post similar reviews should ring a warning bell. If you also see an army of individuals with names that just don't seem real, beware!

It's not that odd names can't exist, but when there's a set of reviews from Sally Skyscraper, Trudy Trillet, Sam Samson, and Bob Pinecone in the mix, it's likely that there's a person without much creativity behind the scenes who is creating dummy profiles to post multiple times.

Multiple Reviews Sound The Same

Authentic reviewers will express themselves in their own unique ways, thanks to the reviewer’s individual voice, grammatical patterns, and expressions.

In fact, the study of these unique word patterns is called stylometry, and it's used to determine if a document was written by a certain person.

A paid shill or troll can use different emails and accounts to post a lot of reviews, but if their posts underwent a stylometry test, they'd prove to be from the same source.

Therefore, if you see multiple reviews with a similar style, word usage, grammar mistakes, and diction, then you're probably amid a pack of questionable reviews.

The Information Is Vague

If you see a review that doesn't give useful insights into the service or product, be on guard. Comments like "I love my products, buy them all!" or "It was awful!" that don't give any supporting details should raise a red flag.

Real customers will have the 4-11 about the products or services at hand, while shills or trolls will use generic feedback for the sake of posting as many reviews as possible.

The Reviews Are Posted At The Same Time

A review spammer will likely be at the computer for an extended session, so check to see when these reviews were posted. If they were all submitted in the same hour or day, then something's probably up!

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