While Amazon has long looked down on reviews that were written in exchange for free or deeply discounted items, these write-ups were allowed so long as they followed the rules: The review must be honest, and the compensation must be fully disclosed. But as we showed earlier this year, a number of compensated reviewers were gaming the system — posting hundreds of reviews a month, almost universally positive, and for products they sometimes couldn’t possibly have used. Now Amazon has announced a nearly full ban on compensated reviews. [More]
Months after filing several lawsuits to block companies from selling fraudulent positive reviews on its site, Amazon is now turning its focus to those that purchase the fake reviews, taking action against one company and two individuals who sell on the e-commerce site. [More]
Since Amazon began allowing customers to post reviews on product pages, various waves of bogus reviewers have attempted to game the system by posting fictitious or dishonest write-ups. While Amazon has recently taken legal action against people paid to write fake reviews for products, and the site has a ban on most forms of “paid” reviews, there’s a new crop of compensated reviewers who are receiving free or discounted products in exchange for then writing “honest” reviews. But some of these users are writing dozens of reviews a day, sometimes for products they couldn’t possibly have tried. [More]
Many consumers look at crowdsourced reviews on TripAdvisor or Yelp and understand there is a possibility that a review could be bogus. Sites like these generally have methods for detecting and blocking fake write-ups, but regulators in Italy say that TripAdvisor isn’t doing enough to stop the faux reviews and has to pay up or enact stricter policies. [More]
So, you’re planning a much-needed vacation to a beautiful destination, but you don’t know any of the hotels in the area. You do like most consumers and turn to online review sites like TripAdvisor or Expedia. But are these hotel sites really trustworthy? [More]
Since the dawn of Yelp, a handful of businesses have been accused of trying to game the system by paying for positive reviews on the site. Recently, Yelp operatives began going undercover to bust companies for this no-no, and anyone caught buying reviews will be forced to carry a badge of shame for the 90 days. [More]
When you go to Twitter, Facebook, an online forum or any other form of social media to voice a complaint about a product or service you’ve purchased, one can understandably be left with the feeling that no matter how loud they shout, no one is listening. However, some businesses say they are monitoring all those negative posts and reviews and a few claim to be making systemic changes in response.
Anyone who has sifted through anonymous “user” reviews of products is likely aware that there’s a good chance some of those comments were posted by shills trying to game the system to make the product look much better or worse than it is. While there are already a number of common-sense ways to suss out a bogus review, science has found a way to identify entire groups of review spammers.
Since the dawn of online reviews, businesses have been attempting to game the system by flooding sites with bogus star ratings, fictitious reviews. And even though the major sites have enacted safeguards to prevent automated ways of rigging reviews, there’s little they can do to stop an actual human from logging on to boost a review in exchange for a few pennies.
It’s not always easy to sort out genuine rave reviews from online users from those made by company plants, but technology may be able to sort out what the gullible human eye cannot. Cornell University researchers say they’ve developed software that can identify fake reviews.
Writer Mike Murdock published a fantasy novel in 2008 that had a sudden uptick in reviews on Amazon.com a few weeks ago. Why the sudden popularity? Was it reviewed somewhere prominent? Made part of Oprah’s Book Club? Tweeted by Roger Ebert? Not exactly. Murdock also reviews video games, and recently published a very unfavorable review of the new Sega/High Voltage Software Wii game Conduit 2 on Joystiq. A High Voltage employee then sent a link to the book’s Amazon page to co-workers, urging them to read Murdock’s book and “return the favor.” Well, if a one-star review calling the book “below fan-fiction garbage” is a favor.
If you have an extra $2,000 in your home entertainment budget, consider investing it in the 12-meter AudioQuest Coffee cable. Oh, sure, it’s not for everyone, but online customer reviews report life-changing and scientifically impossible experiences that you just can’t get with your ordinary $5 HDMI cable.
The PR outfit that publicizes the Rock Band video game franchise settled with the Federal Trade Commission, which caught agency employees posing as customers to post positive reviews on the iTunes App store.
Last week we showed you a few ways to spot fake online reviews and asked you to submit yours. We got some really great stuff! Here’s the tips and techniques savvy Consumerist readers use to ferret out the shills, sockpuppets and charlatans when cruising online reviews of products and services. Get yer learn on!
Here are some warning signs that an online review is being left by a shill, or shills:
Finding a bad place to stay can ruin a trip, or even your entire impression of a city. Lacking personal recommendations, you may turn to online reviews to help you find a place to stay. But how can you tell shill reviews from real ones? Other than an air of general fakeness, AOL Travel tells you what to look for in hotel reviews specifically.
Over a year ago, we wrote about Lifestyle Lift and its attempts to astroturf a customer review website (while simultaneously suing that website for trademark infringement, naturally). But then they caught the attention of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, and now they’ve agreed to pay $300,000 and will stop publishing fake reviews online.