How to Spot a Fake Review

In your day to day activities, you have likely come across the store window cling that touts that “Customers love us on Yelp!” Since there are strict guidelines that go into receiving one of these stickers from Yelp, you can take it seriously. After all, businesses that get them do. They love to make sure that you know that their customers love them on Yelp. However, once they have received the window cling, it is not revoked from them should they fall out of favor with customers. It would be rather hard to retrieve this from a business. This brings to light that there can be fake or outdated reviews on the business’s Yelp page.

While just about everyone under the sun has heard of Yelp, it is essential to know that Yelp is not the end all be all of the review sites. There is a plethora of them out there now. The difference is that Yelp goes to great lengths to make sure that the reviews are from real customers. Other sites are not as rigorous in their fact-checking. It is for this reason that you must make sure that you are not only trusting a single review site when you are investigating a company.

Having said that, we need to address the elephant in the room. Some companies pay people to leave fake reviews. This is not only positive reviews but negative ones as well. Of course, the negative reviews are left on the review page of their competitor. There is little that can be done, sadly. The reason is that most of these are done with anonymity. It becomes the job of the review site and us, the customers, to decipher what is real and what is fake. In this article, we will help you to discover the real from the fake.

The Facts

To put it very bluntly, there are a lot of phony reviews on the internet. The reason for this is that it has become a business of its own. Some people and companies will provide fake reviews for businesses. Of course, this flies in the face of good business ethics. As of right now, no laws are preventing these businesses from existing and businesses for paying for the service. Perhaps one day it will. For now, you need to make sure you are on your toes when it comes to reviews.

According to Daily Dot’s Nicholas White, “We are living in the age of the inexpert opinion. If you can think of it, someone is offering it in both authentic and fake, fraudulent ways. Most of the time, this is done by shady, fly-by-night companies. They will pay freelancers small amounts of money to leave reviews on the pages the company that hired them wants them to.

Not only does this make them hard to be held accountable, but it also makes it hard to spot the real reviews from the fake ones. They can pop up on any review site. Keeping them in check is hard to do. Yelp, Amazon, and other reputable sites do their very best, but as you can see, it can be difficult.


You may be asking yourself, if there are so many problems, then why do we even have review sites, to begin with. The answer is simple. Customers want it. If you are a responsible business, you make it your job to be on every single review site that you can find. You do your absolute best to make sure that you have the best possible reviews on those sites. The reason is that over 95% of customers will look into a company before they decide to do business with them. Therefore, if you do not have a presence on review sites, you may be overlooked. If you are honest, you will admit that you have decided not to buy a product or do business with a company because they did not have an adequate presence on review sites. This is not a personal attack; it is how we function in today’s world.

Having said all that, we need to get into the meat and potatoes of the point of this blog. You want to know how to spot a fake review, and we are going to show you how to do just the.

Spotting the Fake

As we said above, customers like to look at reviews before making a purchase. The reason is that they trust online reviews. Sometimes this is to a fault. They don’t take the time to sort out the real from the fake. A lot of it is since they cannot tell the difference. Well, after today, you will be able to spot the fakes. This will make deciding on making a purchase much more comfortable in the future.

•    Verified – Make sure that you are looking at reviews that have been verified. This is becoming increasingly more normal. We have a feeling that in the years to come verified reviews will become the gold standard in review sites. There are more and more people asking for this to be done, and the companies that host review sites are answering the call.

•    Min/Max – When you are looking at reviews, make sure to read the reviews that are not the minimum and the maximum allowed. For most review sites, this is one or five. While there are times when a company does deserve this type of rating, they are just a little less reliable. That is not to say that you cannot find a verified review of a customer that has given the min or max rating. However, no one is leaving three-star reviews just to do it. This does not help or hurt a company.

•    Language – When you are looking at reviews, check out the language the person is using. Fake reviews usually lack detail. They speak in generalities. Chances are these are fake reviews. A person that had dealt with the company will almost always have a higher level of detail.

•    Cross-Reference – When you are looking at a product, take note the average rating of a review. If the majority of them are negative and you have one person that gave it a 5-star review, then the chances are that one is fake. Likewise, if you see a lot of 5-star reviews and one negative, that negative one is likely fake.


Hopefully, this blog has helped you to spot the difference between real and fake reviews. The more time you spend critiquing the reviews, the easier it will be to detect the fakes. It does take time to get to learn how to spot them, but at the end of the day, your experience will be much better with review sites.