When I need something—I am talking about information or perhaps a new product or service—I rush to my laptop and start searching. The Internet is the great modern font of knowledge, and one that is beyond comprehension. I have never been disappointed with what I have found, perhaps until now. When looking to acquire a pressure washer for the exterior of my home, the garage, and the yard, I started surveying the reviews. On some sites, while doing my due diligence, I suspected false testimonials. They sounded canned and overly positive. Most real reviews of electric pressure washers, or any product for that matter, are mixed. This is especially true when you get into the budget price range, where quality is not always ensured. You get some pros and cons. Everything can’t be just perfect. How does one know if the reviews are fake?
I think it comes down to your sixth sense. Having read hundreds, I have a general feeling when I am conned. I think you have to look at the entire site as a whole: how the product, for example, is presented objectively and if all information is openly given. An inexperienced web content writer can make the mistake of overhyping something, thus generating considerable suspicion. I would hate to buy something online, only later to find that it is defective in some fundamental way. If it is because the reviews did not include caveats, it speaks ill of that vendor. When you read reviews, you want to know the truth—good and bad. You might still buy a product because it is a good price, but you have a warning about possible problems so you can make an informed decision.
When I see words like “the best ever,” “perfect in every way,” or “you can’t go wrong…” my antenna goes up. I want to know what is on the other side of the coin. There has to be something! Maybe there are several positive reviews in a row, but you want to scroll down and find at least one that gives you the heads up on problems. It is really an issue of business ethics to fake product reviews. I know people who write them for a living for money; and they never got near the product in the first place. This is like the fake reviews of books on Amazon. It is time to call attention to the matter and stop this bogus practice. The consumer is the victim, without even knowing it.
If the Internet is to stay the great information machine that it has become, we have to be able to rely on accuracy and veracity. We have to come together as a digital community and demand quality content. Sure, e-commerce is all about making money; and when that happens, standards often go. Most everyone has read one or two of these fake reviews so there are enough of us out there in the know about this problem to band together and take action. Let the bloggers have their say. I am the first in line today.