BBB Advises on Product Reviews on Cyber Monday ; Be Aware of Fake Customer Testimony Warning Signs

By Capital-Journal, The | The Topeka Capital-Journal, November 16, 2015 | Go to article overview

BBB Advises on Product Reviews on Cyber Monday ; Be Aware of Fake Customer Testimony Warning Signs


Capital-Journal, The, The Topeka Capital-Journal


Nov. 30 is Cyber Monday. That is the first Monday after Thanksgiving, designated since 2005 as the shopping day for online- only bargains, in response to the Black Friday shopping day.

The day has taken off quickly, so much so in fact that last year's Cyber Monday online sales reached a record $2.68 billion, with an average order value of $124. Your Better Business Bureau has advice regarding one aspect of online shopping -- those product reviews that are on most online retailers' sites.

Warning signs

of fake reviews

Things aren't always as they seem in the world of online reviews. Marketing firms sometimes pay people to leave reviews on major sites. The problem of fake online reviews has gotten so bad that Amazon recently sued more than 1,000 people who were paid to post fake five-star reviews of products.

Here are some things to look for as you assess whether an online review is real or has been planted to fool consumers:

- Short reviews. These may be an attempt to raise the "star rating" of a product by posting a good review. Star ratings are only affected by posted reviews.

- Vague reviews. A lack of details about the product may indicate the reviewer didn't really have it.

- Emotional language or extreme statements. Statements like "I'm buying one for all my friends!" or "This is a pathetic waste of time" could be fakes, designed to emotionally engage other consumers.

- Few reviews by the writer or reviews that all have a similar tone. Taking the time to look at the reviewer's other product reviews can help you decide if they are legitimate.

- Lots of reviews within a short time span. This can indicate they have been paid to write a number of reviews.

- Watch for indications of whether they have actually used the product. Some will say yes or no outright, and some will only hint at whether they tried it. …

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