How to Spot Fake Reviews on Amazon
You can get some good deals on Amazon, but you have to be careful to avoid fake or low quality products. In an earlier post, I mentioned that I've been duped into buying cheap sewing supplies that turned out to be poor quality or unusable. Every time this happened, the reviews of that item were largely positive, which lulled me into a false sense of security. Unfortunately, reviewers who receive free or discounted products are less likely to give bad reviews, and there are sites where you can purchase good reviews. Amazon is trying to address these issues, but there are still a lot of questionable reviews out there. In this post, I'll go over some tips to spot fake Amazon reviews in order to avoid buying low quality products.
How to Spot Fake Amazon Reviews
The website fakespot.com will let you enter a product URL from Amazon, so you can run it through their review checker. Their algorithm checks for indicators of fake or incentivized reviews, all in a few seconds.
(Edit: see also reviewmeta.com, which has similar results to Fake Spot, and contains more in-depth reports.)
For example, I was going to purchase some tear-away stablizer which had fairly good reviews, but Fake Spot noted that 93% of the views were low quality. Many reviews mentioned getting the product for free or at a discout, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and there were a lot of reviews created on the exact same day. In the three reviews quoted below, they're for completely different products: nesting containers, hair spray, and keychains. I've blurred the product details and reviewers names, just to avoid antagonizing the seller, but if you run your own purchases through FakeSpot, you'll catch these things, too.
Oddly enough, another variation of this same product has a good rating from Fake Spot. I decided not to risk it, though.
All-in-one sewing kits commonly pop up in the daily deals section on Amazon. I bought one when I first started sewing, and the quality was pretty poor. As soon as these kits start to get enough bad reviews, they get re-branded and re-packaged as something slightly different. Be wary of cheap, all-in-one sewing kits on Amazon. This one has 4.3/5 stars on Amazon, so you might think it was a good deal, but the adjusted rating from Fakespot is .6/5. (In case you're wondering about the ReAnalyze button, I clicked it, and the result was the same.)
Large sets of embroidery thread often turn up as daily deals on Amazon, and I thought the price was far too low for the thread to be of good quality, but surprisingly, Fake Spot said they check out. I'm still not sure if I want to risk it, though. With thread, you tend to get what you pay for.
Bonus Tip: How to Check for Fake "Sales"
You can track prices over time and get notifications when an item drops in price from this site: http://camelcamelcamel.com/
With Black Friday coming up, there will be many sales on Amazon, but when something is on sale, it only shows you the percentage deducted from the suggested retail price. Most items on Amazon already sell for less than the suggested retail price, so it's tough to tell how much of a discount (if any) you're getting from the price it normally sells for. Is it actually on sale, or is it a fake sale designed to create a false sense of urgency to purchase the item? Use Camelcamelcamel to track an item's price over time, and also to set up price-drop alerts for big-ticket items.