Munich (dpa) – Buying online means you often have to rely on guidance from previous shoppers. Indeed, online reviews are a favourite reference of the Internet shopper.
But sellers don’t always play fair. Some pay to get good reviews that warp their average ratings higher.
Online marketing expert Christian Bachem provides a few tips on seeing through the tricks:
Writing style: Paid reviews usually come from paid writers. Some are even fully automated.
“You’ll see a lot of reviews that are often the same, word-for-word, or at least very similar,” says Bachem. “That indicates that they come from a machine or from a paid person who tried to write as many reviews in as little time as possible.”
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Far too positive: No merchant gets exclusively positive reviews. Customers are usually more motivated to leave a review if they experienced some kind of problem and want to vent about it, so always expect to see some minor grumbles.
“If you see that a merchant has a lot of reviews and they’re all positive, then there’s something suspicious,” says Bachem.
Check other review sites: Merchants who buy good reviews usually can’t get them up on every possible site. That’s why shoppers should check out multiple review sites, especially if it’s for a purchase involving a lot of money.
“If it’s a critical shopping decision, then you should check out multiple portals,” advises Bachem. “Is the merchant reviewed similarly everywhere? Are there any outliers?”