Daily Bulletin

News

  • Written by Adrian R. Camilleri, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Technology Sydney

Ever relied on an online review to make a purchasing decision? How do you know it was actually genuine?

Consumer reviews can be hugely influential, so it’s hardly surprising there’s a thriving trade in fake ones. Estimates of their prevalence vary – from 16% of all reviews on Yelp, to 33% of all TripAdvisor reviews, to more than half in certain categories on Amazon.

So how good are you at spotting fake consumer reviews?

I surveyed 1,400 Australians about their trust in online reviews and their confidence in telling genuine from fake. The results suggest many of us may be fooling ourselves about not being fooled by others.

In strangers we trust

Online consumer reviews were the equal-second most important source for information about products and services, after store browsing. Most of us rate consumer reviews – the views of perfect strangers – just as highly as the opinion of friends and family.

Trust is central to the importance of reviews in our decision-making. The following chart shows the trust results broken down by age: in general, people most trust product information from government sources and experts, followed by consumer reviews.

The chart below displays trust ratings according to website, with the most trusted sources for reviews being TripAdvisor.com.au, Google Reviews and ProductReview.com.au.

Those aged 23-38 tended to trust sites the most, and those above 55 tended to trust sites the least.

While 73% of participants said they trusted online reviews at least a moderate amount, 65% also said it was likely they had read a fake review in the past year.

The paradox of these percentages suggests confidence in spotting fake reviews. Indeed, 48% of respondents believed they were at least moderately good at spotting fake reviews. Confidence tended to correlate with age: those who were younger tended to rate themselves as better at detecting fake reviews.

In my opinion, respondents’ confidence is a classic example of overconfidence. It’s a well-documented paradox of human self-perception, known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. The worse you are at something, the less likely you have the competence to know how bad you are.

The fact is most humans are not particularly good at distinguishing between truth and lies.

A 2006 study involving almost 25,000 participants found that lie-truth judgments averaged just 54% accuracy – barely better than flipping a coin. In a study looking more specifically at online reviews (but with only a small number of judges), Cornell University researchers found an accuracy rate of about 57%. A similiar study based at the University of Copenhagen found an accuracy rate of about 65%, with information about reviewers improving scores slightly.

What we look for

So what tends to sway people’s judgement about whether a review is fake or not? My research suggests the most important attribute people look out for is “extremity” – going over the top in one-sided praise or criticism.

This sentiment is a relatively sound rule of thumb, supported by analysis. Studies suggest fake reviews also tend to:

  • focus on describing product attributes and features
  • have much fewer subjective and anecdotal details
  • be shorter than others
  • be relatively more difficult to read (probably due to fake reviewers being hired from foreign countries).

Fake reviews might also be identified by characteristics of the reviewer. Their profiles tend to be new and unverified accounts with few details and little or no history of other reviews. They will have gained very few “helpful” votes from others.

How to spot a fake review: you're probably worse at it than you realise The Conversation/Author provided content, CC BY-ND Test yourself With all this in mind, it’s now’s time to see how good you are at spotting fake reviews with this quiz. Chances are you didn’t do as well as you thought you would. That’s because clever fraudsters work to hide all the attributes of fake reviews outlined above. So two final pieces of advice. Use some technology to help. Two websites I recommend are Fakespot.com and ReviewMeta.com. In my experience, both do a good job weeding out suspicious reviews (tip: be sure to delete domain suffixes such as “.au” from the URLs you check). Also check out multiple review sites to get second, third and fourth opinions. It is less likely a fraudster will be paying for fake reviews on every platform.

Authors: Adrian R. Camilleri, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, University of Technology Sydney

Read more http://theconversation.com/how-to-spot-a-fake-review-youre-probably-worse-at-it-than-you-realise-121043


The Conversation

Politics

Prime Minister on the Alan Jones Show

ALAN JONES: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning Alan, how are you? Good to hear you back on the air.   JONES: Thank you. Thank you very much. Can I just - there's a lot...

Alan Jones - avatar Alan Jones

The Greens side with activists, not farmers

The Greens’ Agriculture Spokesperson, Senator Janet Rice, today made some disgraceful comments in relation to the Government’s tough new penalties for keyboard warriors who incite activists to inv...

Senator Bridget McKenzie - avatar Senator Bridget McKenzie

Scott Morrison interview with Alan Jones - 2GB

ALAN JONES: The Prime Minister's on the line from Melbourne, Prime Minister good morning. PRIME MINISTER: Good morning Alan ALAN JONES:  thank you for your time. I wish we had three hours but look...

Alan Jones - avatar Alan Jones

Business News

Deliveroo appoints Laura Huddle as Head of Commercial in Australia

Leading online food platform Deliveroo has appointed Laura Huddle as Head of Commercial in Australia, as the platform continues to invest in building a strong and experienced local leadership team...

Sinead Harding - avatar Sinead Harding

The Most Successful Start-Ups in Australia

The future looks bright for Australia’s start-up sector. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are beginning to be recognized as most popular Australian start-up hubs. More and more companies are ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Three important challenges small businesses face and how to fix them

Running a business can be hard, and sometimes, it can be harder than you think when first entering into this otherwise unknown world. Because of this, many small businesses in Australia are afrai...

News Company - avatar News Company

Travel

DEAL: Kids stay and eat for FREE these school holidays!

Take these school holidays to the next level with the ultimate family escape at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour. What’s more, kids under 12 years of age, can stay and eat for FREE! ...

Liana Gardy - avatar Liana Gardy

How to Book a Hotel for Your Vietnam Trip

Finding a travel destination may turn out to be challenging at times. You may have a long bucket list, which leaves you spoilt for choice on where to visit first. Going through travel blogs and site...

News Company - avatar News Company

New Allianz data reveals the ‘forgotten’ European countries attracting Australian travellers this winter

FROM SPAIN TO THE UKRAINE - THE SURPRISE EUROPEAN DESTINATIONS BOOMING WITH AUSSIE TOURISTS Australian travellers are seeking new destinations beyond the Mediterranean when it comes to European...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

ShowPo