Know what reviews you can trust.
I’ve been writing reviews now for more than 6 years and I love being able to provide my unbiased opinions of products, apps, and services that come across my path. I have, on occasion, left reviews on websites like Amazon so that more people have a more informed decision about the product they are purchasing. I, like many other customers of Amazon, have noticed in recent years that some reviews are not quite so reliable. Many reviewers receive products free of charge with the expectation from some companies that the reviewer should leave a positive review no matter what their ‘real’ experience is. I’m proud to say that at MacSources, we’ve never faltered in our mission to provide honest, fair, unbiased reviews – no matter where the product comes from. We are always up front with our sponsors about this and hope that we build trust with our readers by following this practice.
Because ‘sponsored’ reviews on sites like Amazon have become so common that app/software developers like Fakespot, Inc. have taken notice, too, and have devised a system to help consumers determine the validity of reviews they see on sites like Amazon. It’s a free fake review detection service for online shoppers. Users can access the service via the web or through a mobile app. Through the use of plugins (mobile and desktop) users can gain valuable information about the system with just a few clicks.
I personally tried out Fakespot on some Amazon reviews – using both the web interface and the mobile app (iOS). I found it to be both easy to use and accurate. I pulled up four reviews on Amazon of items I had personally used and/or reviewed. And while I know I’m being truthful when I write, I can’t say the same for others who have submitted information on the same products.
- Skyrunner Adult Kangaroo Shoes – I did not personally try these out, but my fiancé did. We purchased them from Amazon and after having some mechanical issues with the stilts, we returned them. We ended up providing a 1-star review for them.
I ran the product URL through Fakespot (web interface) and found that the system gave the reviews an ‘F’ rating. Their system determined that there was ‘high deception’ with the reviews involved. Now I’m not entirely sure how the Fakespot ‘engine’ determines deception, but the report shows an overview that includes description words, how many reviews the product has, and review summaries.
- Digital Voice Recorder – This product only has 3 reviews on it and Fakespot gave it an ‘A’ rating.
- Spinners Plastic Finger Toy – Fakespot analyzed this product’s reviews at a ‘C’ and determined that there ‘may be deception involved.’
- iProductsUS Charging Station – Fakespot rated the review content as ‘low’ and its review rating was a ‘D’ for this product.
While there may not be a way to know if it’s 100% accurate, this system gives you a much better idea of how trustworthy product reviews can be. Given the small sampling of products I checked out, I can say that I feel Fakespot is a good service to use to be certain of your options. I would recommend using the plugin (desktop or mobile) whenever possible as well as the web interface, but don’t worry so much with the mobile app. I downloaded the iOS version and found that it only shows you a history of the Fakepost extension. Unfortunately, that information wasn’t being pulled through into my app, but that may have been a user error.