Christmas shopping time is upon us, which means we're all probably buying a lot more than we typically do. When you're shopping online, online reviews can be a great tool in figuring out whether that present you're about to buy is going to be a winner or a dud. That said, these days there are loads of fake and paid reviews out there that muddy the waters a bit when it comes to getting reliable information about an item you're shopping for.
If you're scoping reviews and trying to get a feel for a product there are a few things you can do to help determine if reviews are fake or the real deal.
If you're shopping on Amazon, the site Review Meta can analyse the reviews for a particular product for you and her you decide which ones to trust. To use the site, you just have to copy and paste the URL for the item in question into a search bar.
If it's analysed the reviews for a product already then you'll see results instantly. If not, then the site will do the analysis right then, which could take a few minutes.
When looking at a camera I'm interested in on Amazon, for instance, it determined that of the 239 reviews on Amazon, 219 of the reviews for the camera were legit. That earned it a "Pass" rating. The adjusted review score based only on the legit reviews also kept the review rating the same, so it's probably a fair rating.
The site also digs a little deeper and points out reviews it thinks you should read as well as those that are probably fake.
Red flags for the site are people who have only reviewed this product on Amazon. For those, it looks to see if their ratings are considerably different than other reviewers. In the case of my camera, the "one hit wonders" scored it a 3, while other more frequent reviewers gave it a 4.6.
The site also looks into whether reviewers uses some of the same phrases, an indication they may have received a "script" from a company paying them for the review. It also looks at whether purchases were verified through Amazon, and whether they were created on a "high volume day" where a number of people reviewed the product around the same time, suggesting the reviews might have been part of some sort of campaign.
If you're a meticulous review reader like I am, the whole report can be great for either convincing yourself that you're making a good buy or convincing yourself you might want to keep shopping.