Combatting Fake Reviews on Amazon
An estimated 30% of reviews on Amazon are fake, according to CBS News. This problem isn’t unique to Amazon; they can be found across many other online marketplaces. But regardless of the channel, fake reviews can result in a number of negative effects for brands and retailers. Here we share how to spot fake reviews on Amazon and combat them before they harm your presence and reputation.
The Impact of Fake Reviews on Amazon
Over the years, Amazon shoppers have become more sophisticated. Many use the marketplace as a place to research products before purchasing. And this is where reviews carry the most influence. According to Amazon Advertising, the average shopper reads nearly 10 reviews before buying.
With that said, not all shoppers are familiar with how Amazon works or the potential for fake reviews. Because of this, brands should operate as though customers will take all product reviews as legitimate.
In Amazon's landscape, brands are only as credible as the reviews their products receive. And it's important to remember, fake reviews on Amazon can be both positive and negative. But in either case, fake reviews can skew the general perception of whether a product is worth buying.
How Brands Can Identify Fake Reviews
Mitigating fake reviews on Amazon can be a daunting task. To stay up-to-date on what's happening with your products, it's important to proactively monitor your catalog. This will help you to remain aware of how your products are perceived by shoppers. And, not to mention, legitimate reviews can be a great source of information and feedback.
Taking an in-depth look at product reviews is important. But understanding the warning signs and red flags of fake reviews on Amazon is also crucial.
We recommend brands start by filtering reviews for a product to view all one-star reviews. Of these, any without valuable context could likely be fake.
On the other hand, it's also worth paying attention to five-star reviews. It’s counterintuitive, but culprits often spam products with five-star reviews attempting to make Amazon believe the brand is cheating the system, which causes it to be flagged and suspended by Amazon.
Trends and indications to be aware of when identifying fake reviews on Amazon include:
- Reviewer History
Should you be suspicious of any review, take a look at the reviewer’s history. If they’re posting tens or hundreds of reviews on a given day, they’re likely fraudulent.
- Spelling and Grammar
Take note of the spelling and grammar in the reviews left on your products. Most fake reviewers won’t take the time to use spell-check or properly use punctuation
If your product receives an influx of reviews in one day, this could be a sign of fake reviews, especially if you notice they’re predominately five-star reviews. As we mentioned, this is one way to have a product flagged or suspended.
- Verified Purchase
The ideal product review will have a ‘Verified Purchase’ label as seen below, unless the offender actually took the time, money, and energy to buy your product, fake reviews will not have this label (but this doesn’t mean all reviews without the label are fake. )
- Level of Detail
Real reviews will likely contain at least some level of detail about the product’s quality and overall customer experience. Fake reviews are often brief and limited to only a few words.
- Too Good to be True
Another warning sign of fake reviews is when the message is overly positive. Look out for overuse of exclamation points or language that doesn’t seem to match the product.
Similar to looking for reviews with a ‘Verified Purchase’, legitimate reviews will likely have ‘Helpful’ votes, as seen below. Fake reviews are less likely to be truly helpful to shoppers.
Steps Your Brand Can Take
If you suspect your products are falling victim to fake reviews, there are several options to consider. Fake reviews can be reported by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you're able to identify who's responsible, you could take legal action.
At Marketplace Strategy (MPS), we work with our clients to protect against fake reviews before they happen. We also position clients to take advantage of Vine Reviews, when applicable, to earn authentic reviews.
It's not always possible to prevent or remove fake reviews but Amazon has several programs designed to protect your brand's credibility. We recommend becoming Brand Registered, and enrolling in Project Zero and Amazon Transparency. These programs can serve as safeguards and protect your brand's reputation. Most importantly, they can improve the customer's experience. This will prevent negative experiences and increase the likelihood of legitimate positive reviews.
We understand it can be unnerving when your products receive fake reviews. But brands have the power to take control of their catalogs, protect their products, and combat this issue.
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