Don’t you just love online shopping?
It’s faster than traditional shopping. Things get delivered to your house. No annoying queues.
If you’re an introvert like me, online shopping also means no talking to humans. At all. Catch me having a (very quiet, thank you very much) party in my pajamas, drinking raspberry wine and scrolling down Amazon.
Speaking of Amazon, there’s something we need to discuss.
I can bet the devil my head that you check reviews before buying a product. Just to make sure you know what you’re investing in.
Well, have you ever wondered… What percentage of Amazon reviews are fake?
Alexa, play “The Godfather” theme.
It’s a dark place we’re about to enter.
Let’s start with some fascinating Amazon stats:
- There are around 250 million reviews on Amazon.
- 82% of adults in America check reviews.
- Barely 17% of users fully trust reviews.
- Only just 3% to 10% of people actually write reviews.
- 61% of electronics reviews have been deemed “fake”.
- There were 2+ million unverified reviews on Amazon as of March 2019.
- Black hat companies offer as much as $10, 000 a month for a review.
Are you as uncomfortable as I am right now?
I have more information and some ideas about how to deal with this problem.
Let’s dig deeper.
1. There are around 250 million reviews on Amazon.
- Reviews increase conversion by as much as 270%.
- For lower-priced products, the conversion rate increases by 190%.
- For higher-priced products, it increases by 380%.
To say that reviews are important would be an understatement.
We all check reviews before buying a product. It’s the second-best way to get opinions, after word of mouth.
In fact, I spend a lot of time reading reviews, just for the fun of it.
Yes, I am aware that my definition of “fun” is not exactly typical.
Reviews increase conversion rates. People are just more willing to get things that are recommended by others.
And if you think that hiding bad reviews is doing you a favor, hold up.
Just look at how many people check reviews:
2. 82% of adults in America check reviews.
(Source: The Hustle)
- 82% of them search for negative reviews specifically.
- 16.2% of customers admit they make purchasing decisions based on the rating and reviews of a product.
- 28% of Americans use Amazon to look into their most recent products.
More than half of customers check reviews before buying.
More than half of those seek negative reviews explicitly.
We live in an age, more or less dictated by marketing. Every marketer out there is trying to prove that their product is simply the best. They’re listing all the good qualities, all the benefits, all the cool parts. And they often do it with fancy, and sometimes confusing, words.
You know, if you can’t convince them, confuse them.
While I do get that, I want to know what I’m actually dealing with.
I want the bad reviews. Judging by those Amazon statistics, I am not the only one.
Of course, people like me don’t mean the “THIS SUX” reviews. We want legit Amazon reviews, with the cons explained.
That said, do people really trust reviews?
See for yourself:
3. Barely 17% of users fully trust reviews.
(Source: Search Engine Land)
- 20.8% only trust Verified Purchasers’ reviews.
- 58.1% would take reviews into consideration.
- 4.1% don’t trust reviews at all.
We’re not living under a rock. You and I both know fake Amazon reviews are a thing.
Besides, a healthy dose of skepticism never hurt nobody.
We still read them though, don’t we?
More than half of people do take reviews into consideration. They don’t necessarily trust them, but it does influence their decisions.
Those fake Amazon reviews really gave us trust issues.
The bigger question would be – who writes those reviews?
I mean, the real Amazon reviews.
4. Only just 3% to 10% of people actually write reviews.
- 80% of those reviewing electronics on Amazon leave just 1 review.
- More than half of reviewers leave 5-star ratings.
- Very few people leave 2 or 3-star ratings.
We spend a lot of time reviews and that we even let them influence our decisions. You’d think that most of us would take the time of day to actually write them.
Most of the people only ever leave 1 review. If they’re in the mood, of course.
The majority of them leave 5-star reviews. And almost none leave 2 or 3-star ratings.
It’s go big or go home, folks.
How many of those Amazon reviews are true? And what percentage of Amazon reviews are fake?
5. 61% of electronics reviews have been deemed “fake”.
(Source: Marketing Land)
- 63% of reviews on beauty products are also fake.
- 59% of reviews about sneakers are unreliable.
- 64% of reviews of supplements cannot be trusted.
We asked what percentage of Amazon reviews are fake. Here’s the answer.
More than half of them.
Don’t know about you, but those numbers make me uneasy.
How am I supposed to trust anything now?
First, it’s photoshopped bikini pics of models on Instagram.
Now it’s fake Amazon reviews about sneakers?!
The sun being a conspiracy?
Okay, back to the reviews.
6. There were 2+ million unverified reviews on Amazon as of March 2019.
(Source: The Hustle)
- 99.6% of those were 5-star reviews.
- Amazon has detected only 1% of unreliable reviews during March 2018.
- 9.1% out of almost 58 million Amazon reviews, checked by ReviewMeta, were labeled “unnatural”.
Amazon claim that only 1% of their reviews are unreliable.
What they don’t talk about is the number of ways to fool them into believing a review is real.
I know what you’re thinking.
We need to come up with a fake Amazon review checker.
This is why the likes of Fakespot and ReviewMeta exist.
Fakespot and ReviewMeta are here to save the day! Both of those filter reviews for you, pointing out the suspicious or unreliable ones. They will surely help you gain the upper hand in the vast sea of fake Amazon reviews.
And although they can help you greatly to spot fake Amazon reviews, they can hardly solve the general problem.
What is the general problem?
People make money out of fake reviews. And I’m not talking dollar or two here.
7. Black hat companies offer as much as $10, 000 a month for a review.
- Thumbs up on a review go for around $1.
- Reinstating a suspended account can cost from $2, 000 up to $10, 000.
- Removing an unspecified number of negative reviews costs around $300.
Now you see why fake reviews are such a big thing.
Those numbers are honestly mind-blowing. There are so many ways to gain money from it. From thumbs up on reviews to removing negative reviews, everything has a price.
The end goal?
To manipulate the ranking systems and pull ahead of the competition. We’re talking things like:
- selling information
- rearranging the top results
- reinstating suspended accounts
- keyword tricks
- fooling the algorithm that a product has been added to a shopping cart
- getting a spot in the “frequently bought together” section
- fake Amazon sellers
People make rules to contain the chaos. Then other people come up with ways to go around those rules and then charge for it.
It’s a story as old as time.
As long as there are people making money out of it, there will be fake reviews.
So how can you distinguish between fake and real Amazon reviews?
Tips and Tricks
Determining Amazon review authenticity is not an easy task.
Still, there are some tips and tricks on how to spot fake reviews on Amazon.
We’ve already discussed the first and most logical solution – you can always use tools that do Amazon review analysis.
Also, you should actually take the time to read the reviews. Reviews that are drastically different from the general trend about a product are most probably unreliable.
The “Amazon Verified Purchase” badge can be used as a real review indicator too. That means that the user actually got the product from Amazon. To get the badge, the user needs to leave a review and wait for Amazon to confirm they got the product through that account. As we established, that too is sometimes handled by black hat companies. But it’s expensive and hard to do, so most of the time people don’t bother.
Repetitive comments on products with a lot of reviews are also red flags. If a product has 236 reviews and 116 of them are something along the lines of “DIS IS GR8!!!”, it looks slightly suspicious. Needless to say, those 116 reviews are most likely fake.
If you find a particular review suspicious, check the account from which it was posted. If the user has written several similar reviews or has submitted a lot of reviews in a short period of time, you have your answer.
We can’t catch them all, but we sure as hell can weed out most of them.
That was a lot.
Let’s wrap up.
What can we take from all this?
Very few people buy products online before deciding to purchase something.
They are brave and reckless and I wish I could live life on the edge like them too.
However, I cannot. I need to read at least two reviews. Given that you’ve clicked on that article, you’re probably like me.
Because of people like me, there are more than 250 million reviews on Amazon.
Most of them, unfortunately, are fake. More than half of the reviews about electronics, beauty products, supplements and sneakers should not trusted.
And people do not trust them. Only 17% of those reading reviews actually fully trust them.
The irony here is that we all want honest reviews, but almost no one goes on Amazon to write them. Less than 10% of people do that.
Who writes reviews then?
People, paid by black hat companies, and bots.
It’s a tricky world to navigate without the insights we just talked about.
The good news is that now you know what percentage of Amazon reviews are fake. You also know how to distinguish between real and fake ones.
You’re properly armed against the dangers of fake reviews and can jump straight on Amazon to get your next purchase. And just in time – holidays are right around the corner!
Go now. Shop like no one’s watching. Because they’re not. Oh, the beauty of online shopping.
Have fun and till next time!