Without a doubt, the online reviews we read or write have an enormous impact on businesses and their online reputation. So big that there are companies out there that pay people to write fake and negative reviews to influence online ratings. The correct term used is astroturfing; a cyber counterpart to false reviews.
This article was written to walk you through the process of managing your online reputation and wielding out the fake reviews from the legitimate ones. It’s important to keep this guide in mind when trying to suppress negative comments from the first pages of search engines.
Username. The username listed in the review is the first thing you should look at when trying to identify a fake review. When clicking on the reviewer’s profile, you can usually see if there are any social media accounts associated with that username. If there are, the review is most likely legitimate and real.
Grammar & Spelling. Be cautious of online reviews that are either too negative or too positive-especially ones that don’t go into much detail. Red flags-exclamation marks, over usage of capital letters, and personal pronoun abuses.
Purpose. Are the reviewers complaining about not receiving a free sample or some sort of incentive? Gauge the motive or purpose of the consumer providing the review. Not all reviews are justified. If the review mentions a legitimate purpose for providing the review it lends credibility to the review.
Voice. Fake reviews tend to speak from a voice that is “overdone” and emotional. Stay on the look-out for superlatives, descriptions of products and services that weren’t just good, but the best things since the invention of sliced bread!
Duplicate Phrases. A pattern of using duplicated phrases when reviewing various businesses in a person’s profile suggests a paid ‘professional’. Many fake reviews are purposely made unclear, so that the reviewer can re-use the ‘review content’. By using a keyword density tool, this determines if a review is engaged in keyword stuffing, black-hat SEO practices.
By Alex Noudelman & Barbara Bensimon