When you’re in need of a new place to get your hair done, you typically take a look at reviews. How about when you want to try a new restaurant or maybe want to check out a new shopping center? The reviews help you decide where or where not to conduct your business. The question is: how trustworthy are those reviews?

Negative Nancy

New York Times says that negative reviews heavily influence our behavior towards a product, business, etc. This makes complete sense because we tend to steer clear of a place if we see negative reviews. They inform us of how a business or product performs, as well as letting us know of any faults that it may have. The result is that we decide not to buy that product or decide to take our business elsewhere. One thing to ask yourself, however, is if the review only contains a pessimistic view of the product, how genuine is that review?

Positive Patty

Positive reviews are great for business and are much appreciated by the owners of the business. When we do research and see a bunch of positive reviews, there is a bigger sense of confidence and relief. You may form the opinion that a business is great and decide that there is nothing to worry about. Positive reviews give you a glimpse of the good service that is to come and you are more apt to buy because of it. If all reviews are good, then what is the problem? Have you ever asked yourself, how authentic are positive reviews? Could a product or business really warrant only five-star reviews? New York Times also says that five-star reviews are frequently fake. Wait…WHAT!? Yep, and this makes sense if you believe nothing is perfect. Someone would have had to find a fault somewhere, right?  Something to consider about mixed reviews is the author’s mindset when leaving the review, which can be very hard to know. They could have been having a bad day and decided to vent a minor inconvenience. Or, there could be people trying to influence a friend’s business or product.

There are certain things to look out for when questioning if a review is legit or not.

Varying Vera

Mixed reviews can be confusing to say the least. You can’t tell whether the product or business is good or not. However, these reviews can give a sense of credibility as well. Like previously stated, reviews can be heavily influenced by a number of factors.

Everybody has off days, right? So, if a product has mostly good reviews with a couple bad ones sprinkled in, that product or business is probably okay. On the flip side, if there are a handful of negative reviews with some good reviews every now and then, maybe they just had a good day when that customer came in or received their product.

Like I said, pretty confusing. In my opinion, however, mixed reviews show the most authenticity (if they are equally spread out or if the good outweigh the bad). So, how are you able to tell if mixed reviews are a good or a bad omen?

Inside Scoop

Here are 3 things to look out for when reading reviews

  1. Timing of Reviews

If there are a multitude of reviews that happen within a very short period of time, the reviews are most likely phony. For example, if there are ten reviews that happened within the span of twenty minutes of each other, whether it be all the five-stars or all one-star reviews, be wary. Note: There can be exceptions during times like Black Friday or Christmas.

2. Bad Spelling and Grammar:

Market Watch says that lots of fake reviews come from content farms, which means they are fake and written in bulk. These oftentimes are written with very poor English. It’s okay to be the grammar police! Most legitimate reviews are carefully articulated by their author because they want to be very clear with their review, whether it be good or bad. Note: Careful articulation can be difficult if you are upset or emotional.

3. Scene Setting:

Trustworthy reviews often use concrete words in a review while fake ones will overly describe an object. When talking about a restaurant, legit reviews will use words like ‘taste’ and ‘pricing.’ Meanwhile, a fake review may describe the view from the beautifully colored table that they ate at, or be barely descriptive. Real reviews may mention things like this, but a Cornell study says that it won’t be the main focus.

Bah Ram Ewe

Reviews can be a blessing, but also a curse. They can save time and heartache, but if not evaluated carefully, could cause a huge headache and a waste of money. There are many things to consider when reading a review and hopefully, with the tips I shared with you, you will be able to decipher the good from the bad.

Happy Trails!

Let us know some of the things you caught when looking for phony reviews!

Reading Reviews: How to tell if they are trustworthy
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