E Commerce Sites And Fake Reviews – A Marriage Of Convenience?

New York Times in it’s last Sunday’s edition unmasked the dark underbelly of fake reviews. David Streitfeld wrote about – what goes behind creating a paid positive product review online. For most of the e-commerce sites, reviews are quite essential. They influence the buying decision of any visitor. I am a frequent online shopper and I certainly base my buying decision based on what others think about either the site or the product.

Despite of being a frequent buyer I rarely write review unless the product is flawed or the service doesn’t meet the promised expectation. This sometime lead me to wonder, those who are writing such review – are they real, or paid employees of the portal itself. IMHO, here in India if a layman is writing a review , it will have grammatical error (English isn’t their first language), sentences will not be well formed, moreover many of them will be those wherein a user vents out against something.

The moment I see a stream of well articulated reviews I get suspicious. Moreover I see a trend where in the reviewer will bash the product of its real bad but not the e commerce portal.. how often does that happen. When u go thru a bad experience then certainly your anger isn’t just direct towards the product its towards the complete supply chain.


How do you spot a fake review? NYT tried to understand the anatomy of a fake review.

A team of researchers at Cornell University identified several common attributes of fake reviews of hotels, some of them highlighted in the passage below. The researchers also found that on sites that make it harder to post a review — by allowing users to review only hotels they had actually stayed in, for example — the level of deceptive reviews stayed the same or decreased over time. The percentage of deceptive reviews increased on sites that did not require such action. First-time reviewers were also more likely to post deceptive reviews than those who had reviewed many items.”

As far i am concerned, the moment I see a stream of well articulated reviews I get suspicious. Moreover I see a trend where in the reviewer will bash the product if it is real bad but not the e commerce portal! How often does that happen? When you go through a bad experience then certainly your anger isn’t just direct towards a product, it is towards the complete supply chain.

As the ecommerce industry in india is moving in its top gear so is the business of paid reviews. This strategy helps just the vendor who sells his stuff online and the portal who gets commission out of every sale. It is the end user who ends up feeling cheated.  Google certainly needs to develop some sort of algorithm to make sure that sites who manipulates reviews do not rank high and thus profit more by influencing buyer’s decision.

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  1. By inka

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