One-Third Of Online Product Reviews Are Paid Or Fake

The New York Times reports:

In the world of e-commerce, the online review is king, the internet’s answer to walking into a store and trying out a product for yourself. An increase of just one star in a rating on Amazon correlates with a 26 percent increase in sales, according to a recent analysis by the e-commerce consulting firm Pattern.

But while online reviews have become powerful sales tools, the ecosystem is relatively crude. Reviews can be easy to manipulate, and the operators of sites with the most reviews are not always motivated to crack down on fake ones planted to promote products. That leaves many consumers wondering what to believe.

Companies like Fakespot specialize in detecting fake or paid reviews, particularly those posted by humans. Their systems look at language patterns, account creation dates, the types of items that certain accounts are reviewing, and more. An Amazon spokesman said that companies like Fakespot “simply do not have access to the information we have.”

Here’s Fakespot’s review analyzer.