How to spot fake online reviews to help you make better buying decisions

It’s likely not a problem you’ll face when flipping through the latest new casinos 2021 list, but it’s certainly a problem you might face when doing online shopping. When shopping online, you may see an ad for a local business or a product, such as airline tickets, that is based on one real reviewer’s opinion. Or you might see a review that sounds like a personal review from a customer, but it comes from a fake account with no relation to the business or product. This type of review, called a paid review, is widely considered fake and fraudulently posted on the internet by companies that want to influence your purchasing decision or are seeking to create controversy among buyers.

In this article, we will focus on why companies create these reviews and how you can find out if one of these fake reviews is part of a scam.

Why companies create these fake reviews

There are a variety of reasons for companies to create fake reviews. Sometimes a business is experiencing an unusual sales slump, so it needs to generate positive publicity to boost their online profile. In this scenario, fake positive reviews might have a positive impact on a company’s brand and reputation, helping their sales go up. But it is also possible that a business might want to make a negative product or service change that has been negatively received by customers, but which would result in improved sales or results overall. In either case, fake reviews can provide these companies with good publicity that they could not receive through traditional advertising or media channels.

While the exact number of fake reviews is unknown, it is clear that some review sites and businesses publish fake reviews without thinking twice. For example, Booking.com, the hotel booking website, which proudly says on their site that “1 in 5” of all reviews are authentic, reported that in 2017, they deleted 3.4 million fake reviews and blocked more than 6 million users from creating fake reviews.

Often the business promoting these fake reviews is another business. For example, in 2013, Consumer Affairs reported that an unnamed sushi restaurant in the UK listed their address as a building that did not exist and had the business’ logo attached to a second-hand poster, but their location was actually the address of a second-hand clothing store. A website called Dogged Reviews had a similar issue in 2017, when it published a fake review for a restaurant which had changed its name. The person behind the false review commented “why should we review your a***shole place if your a***hole can’t even review your a***hole place”.

Finally, businesses may create fake reviews for one-time promotional purposes, or to try to create controversy among buyers. In this context, fake reviews are often used to gather feedback and opinions about a company’s brand and product, but the reviews are entirely unrelated to the company’s history and their product or service. Fake reviews for false reasons often spread virally, as more and more users accept them as valid. A simple way to see if a company has an issue with a review is to ask them to remove it. If the company does not remove the review, it is probably a fake.

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