How to Tell If an Online Review Is Fake

User reviews are very helpful, especially in the world of beauty and beauty products. After all, this is what you put on your face. Your precious face! But when some of these reviews turn out to be fake, how can you be sure you can trust everything you read?

The Sunday Riley skin care company has agreed with the FTC after being accused of publishing fake reviews of its product for two years. According to the FTC complaint, Sunday Riley, CEO of the eponymous brand, instructed employees and interns to create accounts and leave feedback on the company’s products, some of which cost more than $ 100, on Sephora’s website.

Riley even emailed her employees step-by-step instructions on using a VPN to hide their identity, as they created fake accounts to give five-star reviews while remaining “very enthusiastic and not plant-like,” according to the FTC filed complaint. last year .

In addition, employees were required to track other (legitimate) reviews, “dislike” those that were negative, and write reviews to suppress any negative comments. “As you receive feedback, read them as well. If you notice someone is saying something like ‘x’, write a review that says otherwise, ”reads one note.

What is the penalty for posting fake reviews? Well nothing. The brand must clearly understand who is being paid to promote the company’s products and must instruct its staff on disclosure practices. The FTC could not even agree on a settlement: three members of the agency voted in favor, and two against. Dissenting panelists issued a statement that the FTC should have applied a monetary fine, saying the agreement rewards bad players and harms honest companies under the Fashion Act .

How to spot fake reviews

Fake Sunday Riley reviews have focused on new products in an attempt to gain more attention and sales. So for a quick check, take a look at the number of reviews for recently released products. “Keep an eye out for recently released products that have suddenly received thousands of positive reviews,” said Michael Bonbright, consumer analyst at .

Some sites, like Amazon, have an early review program that clearly notes new product reviews written by reviewers who are sometimes paid for their efforts. “If you don’t see any indication that a seller has taken advantage of this program to get these initial reviews, that’s a red flag,” he said. Not every online store has such a program, but many major retailers will indicate if the reviewer received the product earlier or free for review.

No matter where you browse, look for duplicate words or phrases that appear in a bunch of reviews. “Amazon is pretty good at weeding out these kinds of fakes, but other sites are working less hard,” Bonbright said.

And if you’re unsure about written reviews, Bonebright would recommend looking for a video review that you can watch: “While these reviewers are often compensated for their reviews, you can still see the product and better understand its real value.”


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