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Posts Tagged ‘Safe Online Shopping’

Video: Can You Trust Online Product Reviews?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

We have covered in previous posts the issues of online reviews here and the artificial inflation of numeric reviews and online ratings.  The truth is,  we all look at reviews, whether they are for a hotel on Trip Advisor, a take-out place on Yelp or a product review at your favorite online store.  With the proliferation of reviews across many sites and across so many of our online shopping choices, the issue has now become what is a legitimate review and what is a fake?

Here is a good video interview  of Alan Bligh, Executive Director of the Coastal Bend Better Business Bureau in Texas.  He outlines a series of items in this video that are red flags you should look out for when you are reading an online product review.  We highly recommend watching this video as it will help you stay safe when you are shopping online and it gives online shoppers practical security tips to help you avoid being a victim of online fraud.

Some of these red flags include:

1) Reviews that are actually from an employee or even a disgruntled employee;

2) A review written by a competitor;

3) Product reviews with too much technical jargon may be written by an “insider”;

4) Be careful of reviews that sound like an advertisement for a product;

5) The same review or largely the same review (using the same wording) is written many times on a site or  an online store’s site;

6) The review is all positive.  Typically legitimate reviews have positive and some negative (or at least potential improvements) included; and

7) Reviews with a user name that has 3-4 numbers at the end of it are typically auto generated by software or a computer that trolls the internet and automatically places generic reviews on multiple sites.

This is a good list of red flags to look for when you shop online.  Please tell us if you have any red flags or seen any odd comments in product reviews that have raised a red flag with you.

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