I have spent a lot of time surfing the internet lately, looking for topics for this blog. (I went from posting four times a week in May and June to ten times a week in August and September, so now if I don't have four or five posts -- or more -- in the pipeline, I start to worry.) Fake reviews are a pet peeve of mine, and I end up at some unusual sites when browsing for information about fake reviews.
Here are some tips to spot fake reviews from, of all things, a coupon site. (For the record, I don't visit coupon sites normally. This was linked to from something else I was reading.)
Learn to Dissect Lies from Truth in Consumer Reviews
I don't particularly care for the title of the piece; "dissect" is not the right word to use here. "Distinguish" would be better. But that's not really the point.
Some comments on the 17 tips they offer:
Reviewer name: Sure, some names are short and obviously fake. Other names, which apparently match real people, also indicate poor-quality, fake reviews (Harriet Klausner, anyone?).
Spelling and capitalization: While it's true that people just don't seem to care about using correct grammar and punctuation these days, I believe people who are actually interested in writing good, critical reviews are more likely to use proper grammar, spelling, etc. When people consistently spell the name of a character or place incorrectly, it can either indicate they are just oblivious to detail while reading (Nynaeve and Moiraine are good examples from a particular fantasy series), in which case we shouldn't trust them anyway, even if their reviews aren't fake, or else they rely too much on a spell-checker (L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s series is called the Saga of Recluce, not the Saga of Recluse; more on this in a few days when I do another "reviewing the reviewers" post).
Overall, though, it's not such a bad write-up, perhaps better for consumer electronics purchases than for books. (An iPad costs a hell of a lot more than a mass market paperback, after all.) There are links to a couple of useful and/or entertaining items (check out the Amazon review of milk...).
And now some of my favorite recent fake product reviews, courtesy of Art of Trolling; at least these are meant to be humorous and are not posted by bots or shills: