How Fake Reviews Work On Amazon

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Fake reviews aren’t just on Amazon – they’re goddamn everywhere.

    Here’s my simple strategy to avoid being duped by fake reviews, and also save time.

    1. Always sort reviews by NEWEST FIRST. Don’t rely on Amazon, Yelp, Google, Tripadvisor etc. to surface the “most relevant” reviews. Their opaque sorting algorithms optimize for the company’s ad revenue, not for relevance to your personal situation. Besides, a super-detailed review that was relevant 6 months ago might be irrelevant today because things change. Staff turns over. Management changes hands. Manufacturing and design processes get adjusted. I want to know the state of a product or service now, not how it was in the past. The most relevant reviews for “now” are the most recent reviews.

    2. Focus 2, 3, and 4-star reviews. These are the most level headed assessments of the pros and cons of a product or service. 5-star reviews are too gushing and 1-star reviews are nutjobs or PEBKAC.

    3. Completely disregard 5-star reviews posted by people who have only ever reviewed one product or service. Yelp and Google make it really easy to identify these people. Often, they have been incentivized by the business owner to post a positive review.

    4. In some industries, basically all reviews are fake. Are you shopping for an online mattress? Good luck finding a real review from someone who’s not an affiliate marketer. Protip: depending on your budget for a queen mattress, here is what you should buy
    $2000 = Tempurpedic. Even their cheapest one is really good.

    5. Personal recommendations from family, friends, and coworkers beat everything else. (You gotta make sure your coworker isn’t a moron, and this could take some time to figure out, so be careful.)

  2. Wow I typed a “less than” sign (as in if your mattress budget is less than $500, you should buy…) but it must have been parsed as HTML and stripped out of the comment.

    Whatever, I really don’t care, do you?

  3. I saw another blogger yesterday highlighting “buy a second passport” idea. Putting aside the valid timing issue you mention (6+ months), if you’re a US citizen and resident wanting to travel to a place where that’s not allowed due to virus restrictions, then using an alternate passport or any other “loophole” to go there seems pretty irresponsible. The restrictions are in place for a reason, and putting the health or lives of those in the destination country at risk seems extremely selfish.

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