What are good tech app review sites

Amazon: Writer of fake reviews unpacks - and gives tips

When ordering products online, many use the ratings as a guide. After all, they cannot try something on, try it out, or ask the seller. So why not rely on the experience of other buyers.

It goes without saying that retailers and manufacturers of the products want their offers to be as attractive as possible to buyers. As positive as a good rating can have a positive effect on sales figures, the consequences for a company can be negative if a product receives many bad ratings.

A good rating does not always speak in favor of the quality of a product. Many companies deliberately manipulate the overall rating in their favor. Entire agencies have specialized in writing fake reviews on Amazon, eBay and other sales platforms. The goal is clear: this is how sales should be boosted.

Travel portals have been using such methods and tactics for years to make their offer appear more attractive - not least because the industry has become increasingly tougher and more competitive. I myself have written fake reviews for products on Amazon and I can tell you what you should really look out for in reviews so that you don't fall for the bought ones.

1. Too long and too detailed descriptions

If you write half a page about a product, you either have to let off a lot of frustration, too much time or - even more likely - have written a fake review. Detailed explanations of why a product has numerous advantages, mixed with countless application examples, make the review extremely untrustworthy.

Those who like a product will usually write relatively briefly and concisely what they liked and what they didn't like. And only very few would describe in detail what they use the product for. If you are interested, you can read about that in the product description anyway.

Should you come across a review that briefly mentions the fact of the purchase, for example “I was given a gift” or “I wanted a new cell phone for less than 200 euros”, then you can probably believe the review. Probably. Such methods are sometimes used by the agencies, since Amazon does not release content that is too obviously advertising.

2. Profiles that only write reviews about one product line

You can always see who wrote the review. By clicking on the profile, you can also see how many reviews have been written from the profile and, above all, on which topics. Profiles that only have reviews devoted to certain subject areas could be fake. If you don't have a tech blog or are passionate about writing books, you can do it for a fee.

Therefore, make sure that a profile does not only write about one product division, because the assumption is that this person does not exist or at least had other motives for commenting on a product.

3. Verified purchases are helpful

A very good indication of the credibility of a review is when the reviewer actually purchased the product. In this case it is listed as a "verified purchase" and is also more trusted by Amazon, after all, someone was willing to spend money on it.

This point is the best indicator for a real evaluation, especially for higher-priced products. If these are also numerous and not advertised, you can probably believe the overall rating.

4. Links or references to similar products from one manufacturer are suspicious

Writing that is too promotional should make you skeptical. Links or references to similar products from a manufacturer should also be treated with caution. If someone has read a book and found the current work better than the previous one, that's fine. A note in a subordinate clause that a smartphone has had a great function compared to the previous year's model is also okay.

However, anyone who rants endlessly about all the advantages of a household appliance compared to the five predecessor models becomes suspicious.

5. Pay attention to what else the reviewer ordered

I have not yet met a person who has used three microwaves or ordered four cell phones from one brand within six months. It can't fall into the toilet that often. If you should meet someone like that on Amazon, it is most likely a fake profile of an agency.

If there is a kitchen appliance in the list of reviews, a carnival costume or a book, this is a good indication that a real person behind the profile has simply taken the time to share their experiences with the product with others .

6. Extremely opposing opinions should be treated with caution

You often see extreme reviews on Amazon. Some only give one star because they don't like the color. But if a product gets 100 ratings and 90 of them have only given one star, the remaining 10 but five stars, you shouldn't think twice and leave the product behind. The mix makes it.

Of course there are always products that are controversial. For example, some test a mobile phone brand for the first time and don't like the operation or think the smartphone is great, but have something to complain about when it comes to the price-performance ratio - and then only award one star. You will find such reviews almost everywhere, but the large number of reviews quickly shows you what most customers had to complain about about the product and what advantages it might bring with it. If two thirds of customers say a product is positive, you can be sure that it is at least not junk.

7. Few reviews are meaningful

The law of large numbers also applies to Amazon reviews. Don't trust articles that have only received two ratings, I also used several profiles to connect products with stories with different tones and to rate them positively.

However, there is hardly a company that can afford to have dozens of reviews written for each of its products, which are without exception perfect and only praise the product to the sky. Again, you should use common sense. Unfortunately, if you buy an expensive product and rely on a single positive review, you can no longer help.

8. Find out more about other portals

Amazon is the marketplace par excellence on the Internet. Many people use Amazon almost exclusively to buy technical equipment, books or gifts. But you should definitely inform yourself at Stiftung Warentest or consult other rating portals, especially if there are special websites.

With smartphones, for example, there is an almost weekly ranking with the best devices, which are listed according to price class or scope of performance, so that you have a good guide to what you get for your money.

9. Don't get confused by overly bad reviews

When do you rate a product? Exactly, if you're really pissed off about it and want to let the whole world know how excited you are about a few points. We are rarely asked to write a positive review because we found a product very good.

We'd rather tell our friends or recommend it to someone who asks explicitly. Because of this, there are also people like me who have to write positive reviews. It's not all all bad or all good. Perhaps a customer did not understand the product and rate it poorly because he thinks everyone is able to do the same. Take a look at which points of criticism are mentioned. Conclusive arguments always catch the eye.

Just as there are people who write good (purchased) reviews, there are also those who write purchased reviews. Of course, the goal behind this is to keep the competition small, but don't let that fool you, because here too the average of the mass of reviews shows the whole truth.

10. Read lots of reviews

Those who rely on the top comment have almost lost. It is usually the comment above that was rated first or most with a thumbs up. Agencies and companies know very well that it doesn't take much to position a purchased comment at the top.

If you read a lot of reviews, you will quickly see what advantages a product really has and whether you can live with the disadvantages, or whether you consider the point itself to be negative at all.

11. Ignore the oldest reviews

Reviews that appear on the day a product is released, or even before it, are very likely to be fake. Either the evaluation was then written by a cooperation partner or someone who was paid for it.

Reviews that are written days or weeks after purchasing the product are usually more credible than “quick fixes”. After all, fake reviews are mainly about getting the product to people quickly.

(The author of the text wants to remain anonymous)

This article was published by Business Insider in October 2019. It has now been reviewed and updated.