How to spot a fake review on the internet

There are a range of websites that let customers review goods and services on the internet. Some of the more popular ones include: Trip Advisor, Yelp, Lonely Planet and food websites.

However you may be a little skeptical of how genuine the reviews are on these websites. While sometimes it may be impossible to tell the difference between a fake and areal review, usually it is possible to tell the difference, and we will share a few tips with you now:

Popularity of the site

Some sites are amazingly popular in certain cities, are updated often, and are used by locals to find great deals, food or activities. While in other areas, the exact same website might be exploited by business owners and be of little use. For example, Yelp is currently popular in San Francisco, however in Los Angeles it is less popular and not as valuable.

A good way to tell is to look at the dates when posts were posted, and have a look at how often new posts are updated, and if they are coming from a range of people, at different times.

Range of People

Many sites will try and combat people who have multiple personalities online. You should be aware that if a review sounds like a press release, or well scripted and only focuses on the positives or the negatives, this is likely a fake. Although some people will write reviews like this, they are uncommon, and most reviews you will find will be written in a much more casual manner.

Some websites will also let you look at other reviews posted by the same person. This will also give you an insight; if they have written 10 reviews for one place only then chances are that they may not be real reviews.

Get to know your person

Some websites such a Trip Advisor may have a person who has reviewed an entire trip or country. It pays to read a few of their posts, so that you can see if you share similar tastes and interests or if you agree with what they are saying. If you do or even if you don’t then you will have a good benchmark to start form.

Read On

Do not just read the most recent few reviews. Read a range of reviews, but keep in mind if you read older posts, things may have improved or changed.

Goods

If you are reading about a certain product, read the good and bad reviews, things that you may not have even considered can be brought up that might sway you one way or another.

 Test

Researchers at Cornell University have developed software to spot fake reviews. Their latest test of 400 truthful reviews and 400 deceptive reviews saw the software spot fake reviews 90 per cent of the time. The software has been implemented into a website named www.reviewskeptic.com and is free to use.

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