There’s an arms race going on in the reviewing industry. But instead of nuclear, it’s all about algorithms. On one side there are the algorithms created by cheaters to automatically write fake reviews (or pay people to write fake reviews). On the other, there are the algorithms review platforms write to detect them.

If you’re on a open website (where anyone can write review) content can potentially be manipulated. Be on your guard. - Highlight to share -

But how can consumers work out if they’re at risk of being ripped off by a fake review? I played a walk on part on Rip off Britain this week and explained how consumers can protect themselves.

Here are my five signs to watch out for when spotting the fakers and fudgers.

1. If you’re on a open website (where anyone can write review) content can potentially be manipulated. Be on your guard.

2. If there are only good reviews. A negative review is more likely to be authentic.

3. If reviews are written in a too perfect language. It’s probably written by the marketing department – the genuine ones aren’t likely to have been proof-read.

4. If the language sounds a bit off kilter. They might just be repeating the brand name for SEO purposes.

5. If the reviewer posts too often and writes multiple reviews with similar language.

But fake review providers are aware of those warning signs too and often try and double bluff by mimicking things like spelling mistakes. So consumers must realise that they cannot spot fake reviews by themselves anymore.

If there are only good reviews. A negative review is more likely to be authentic. - Highlight to share -

Don’t believe me?

A research paper on reviewing practices from Cornell University backed this up:

“As a first step, the researchers submitted a set of reviews to three human judges — volunteer Cornell undergraduates — who scored no better than chance in identifying deception. The three did not even agree on which reviews they thought were deceptive, reinforcing the conclusion that they were doing no better than chance. Historically, Ott noted, humans suffer from a “truth bias,” assuming that what they are reading is true until they find evidence to the contrary. When people are trained at detecting deception they may become overly skeptical and report deception too often, still scoring at chance levels.”

That’s why we were asked to appear on Rip off Britain. Our clear and honest method of collecting reviews ensures that fakers don’t manage to trick us or the consumer. You need to make sure the review is from a confirmed purchaser and the review hasn’t been manipulated. Algorithms might seem progressive, but in the end good old human intervention works best.

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Reevoo founder Richard Anson answers: can you spot a fake review?