By Graham Dickson
Sites of booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble feature countless consumer reviews — some legitimately written by objective third parties; others written by family and friends, and even by mills that pump out phony positive reviews for $5 a pop. Recently, Amazon has begun to take action against the authors of such fake reviews.
In the meantime, how can readers spot an imposter review? Our list of telltale signs should keep you one step ahead.
When looking for fake reviews, check:
• The date of the review. Was it left before the book was published, or on the day of publication? Either one means that the reviewer couldn’t possibly have read the title in question before leaving the review.
• The reviewer’s history. If they give only glowing reviews, be apprehensive. Nobody likes everything!
• For inconsistencies in the personal narrative of the reviewer, such as changing their marital status, ethnicity or other details across multiple reviews. This indicates that they may be haphazardly covering their trail as they post various reviews.
• To see if it’s a short review of only a few words. This may indicate that it was intended solely to boost the book/author’s “star” rating.
• To see if the reviewer has bought the book in question. If so, there should be an orange “Verified Purchase” tag under their review.
• For references to other people, such as “my family” or “my husband.” When the person writing the review is making it up, the review tends to stray away from the product.
• To see if the review sounds like a press release for the book. If so, it may have been written by the author — or his/her friends, using ideas and words the author has suggested.
Graham Dickson is a student at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in marketing and minoring in German. He is an intern at BlueInk Review.
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