Can consumers can tell the difference between real and fake reviews?

Some people believe that all reviews should stay up, so that consumers can decide which ones they want to believe.

There are a few issues with this line of thinking, not least of all that studies have found that people actually have trouble determining whether a review is real or fake (this study found it to be no better than 50%). So the idea that people can be relied on to tell the difference is fundamentally flawed – simply put, they can’t, and when they get it wrong a business will suffer unnecessarily.

However even if a negative review is “obviously fake”, the impact it has on the business’ overall rating remains intact. Even a small number of fake negative reviews can drag the out-of-five summary rating down to a level that some potential customers won’t even take the time to read the reviews. A 4.5-star business could be unfairly dragged down to become a 3.9-star business from just a few fake or unfair reviews – can consumers really be trusted to spot the difference? To recognise that this should really be considered a 4.5-star business, and still give them a chance?

If that unfair rating causes even 30% of people to look elsewhere, the business will feel the difference – so why would some people want those bogus reviews to stay up? Leaving all reviews to stand unchallenged would leave businesses to suffer the very worst of the unregulated internet, essentially destroying the value of the platforms for everyone. The policies exist for a reason – to enforce some quality and fairness in the reviews. If enforced correctly, that’s what can make the platforms useful for everyone. That is essentially what Removify is doing – challenging the platforms to enforce their own policies such that the remaining reviews are of a quality that is useful to everyone. Informative reviews are then helpful to consumers who want help deciding where to shop, and also helpful as feedback to business owners on what they are doing well or where they could improve.