When you are deciding which computer, printer, or application to buy for the office, do you read online product reviews? If so, you are not alone. Many people check out online reviews, even if they intend to buy the product in a brick-and-mortar store. However, some individuals do not realize that many reviews on the Internet are fake.
The Facts about Fake Reviews
Fabricated reviews are common. One study found that a third of all online reviews are fake. Sometimes, businesses entice customers to write good reviews by offering them special deals. Other times, companies hire a third party to write fake reviews, or they have their own employees write them under pseudo names. The reviews might rave about the company’s products or berate competitors’ offerings.
Some companies like Amazon are taking measures to combat fake reviews. However, these companies are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to self-policing websites for fabricated reviews. So, buyers must beware.
Tell-Tale Signs a Review Is Fake
Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs that a review is fabricated. Be wary of reviews that:
- Include over-the-top praise without saying much about the product’s features (e.g., "It is a high-quality printer that is also beautiful to look at")
- Sound like a marketing brochure or website description, especially if they use the full product or service name (e.g., "I really like my new XYZ laptop. I have model A1, which has a quad-core processor, 500GB hard drive, 4GB memory, and an embedded multimedia card")
- Totally disparage a product, with no information about why it received such a low rating (e.g., "The software is useless — don’t buy it")
- Berate a product, then recommend a competitor’s offering, sometimes even telling you where you can purchase it (e.g., "I found that this router was extremely hard to set up, so I returned it and bought ABC’s router instead. It is easier to use and is less expensive if you buy it from XYZ Computers")
Sometimes, you can also find patterns if you look at what specific reviewers have written. Be wary of reviewers who:
- Write nothing but five-star reviews
- Write reviews about only one company’s products and all the reviews give high praise
- Write numerous reviews that all sound the same, except for one or two elements that change
Get the Best Product for Your Business
Selecting hardware and software can be hard because there are so many products to choose from. Online reviews can be helpful as long as you weed out the fake ones. You can also call us if you have a question. We can help you select the best hardware or software for your IT environment.