Online Review Sites – A Guide

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30/04/2018 The Resolver team have been pretty busy this weekend. We've been tackling plenty of questions about review sites.

Along with speaking to the media about the ongoing TSB problems (check out our guide here) we spent most of yesterday on TV and radio talking about online review websites and how to spot fake reviews.

Online review sites are really useful – and millions of us use them. But as with any useful thing, there are scammers and blaggers who will try to bend the rules to their advantage. We’ll be covering all of this in a brand new page on our website soon. But in the meantime, here are our tips on how to spot a fake review.

  1. Question polarising reviews. A firm with lots of 5-star and 1-star ratings should make you look at the reviews in a bit more detail. Generally, people give mid-range reviews - and if they're genuinely exceptional or poor, then they tend to go on a bit!
  2. Look for key phrases and language: 'Don't understand the bad reviews here' or 'Don't listen to negative comments' followed by, well, not much, can indicate the hand of a firm employed to bump up the ratings.
  3. Punctuation and precision. Positive reviews with lots of exclamation marks can indicate a less than authentic review. In addition, reviews that list the full product name or code (unless really techy) should be treated with suspicion.
  4. Hotel fakers. When it comes to booking a holiday, watch out for reviews focusing on the amenities, family options and things to do locally. People reviewing hotels are usually concerned about the rooms and immediate facilities.
  5. Time clusters. Keep an eye on the time and date clumps of good reviews are posted. If they're too close together, they're likely to be dodgy.
  6. Verified purchaser. Some organisations are now listing whether the review actually bought the goods or services (Amazon). Go with the reviews where you know the person has tried out the purchase.

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