Now, we all know that User Reviews have always been a dubious thing to see, and we could never know if they where legitimate or not. Now, it has been uncovered, that big-name authors RJ Ellory and Stephen Leather have been writing fake reviews, promoting their own books, whilst slamming other authors work. Now, that's not to say they are the ONLY people doing this. It is well known that reviews are easy to buy online, be it video, or written. One can buy these on sites such as Fiverr
, and as the name suggests, they cost $5 each. I am sure, that somewhere, somehow, you can get them for much cheaper.Do people even read user reviews?
In short, yes. I, myself, have dismissed an app on Android based on the comments of users. I do this even when I know that user reviews are mostly fake. Now, I don't know the true figures of Fake vs Real, and I am not honestly sure that anybody really does. However, I still read them, and somewhat trust them. Gary Marshall over at TechRadar
writes this week about why these fake reviews are so prominent -- in short, because they work so well:
You can see the appeal. Imagine you have a restaurant, and in these tough times you need every customer you can get - so why not try to steal your rivals' customers? Why not pay a few friends to go to your rival's restaurant, booking via one of the restaurant booking sites, and then leave a damning online review for other would-be diners?
It wouldn't cost much, and if it persuades even a couple of people to go to your restaurant rather than theirs then it's been a good investment.
That story from TechRadar seems to focus heavily on reviews for books, however, it is easily transferred to any other service or product.Here's Eileen Brown
at zdnet writing about Google's attempts to catch fake reviews:
A new software algorithm was announced last week at the World Wide Web 2012 conference in Lyon, France. It tries to detect groups of spammers working together to influence products.
Opinion spamming is quite common. Have a look at any successful web sites with multiple reviews on the site. Some reviewers try to game the system by promoting or demoting target products. Groups of reviewers can work collaboratively to write fake reviews and can often take total control of the sentiment of the site.
Eileen makes a point of showing two reviews, one real, and one fake, both VERY similar to each other. I don't know about you, but I can't tell which is fake, and which is real!
Do you trust user reviews? Do you have a technique on how to filter fake from real? I would love to hear your take on this!
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