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Fake product review disinformation

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posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:32 AM
One thing I love about shopping online is that you can read reviews of a product written by people who have already bought it. I find this immensely helpful because if a lot of people are saying the same negative comments about a product, you know it's probably a ripoff.

Some of the sites that I find have the most helpful reviews are and

However, my husband shops at Home Depot a lot and he likes to look at products online before buying them. There are many reviews of assorted products, but the problem is that many of them are obviously fake. These product reviews were clearly written by someone working for Home Depot trying to sell the product.

Here's an example from a Rigid brand orbital sander

"As soon as I took it out of the box I new it would be good. An extra long cord being one advantage along with the feel in your hand. Excellent for picture frames in doing the mitres and I refinished a table top in little time. I tried others and the rigid came out on top."

Home Depot

To me that just does not sound like a review written by a customer. The worst is when the first review is 5 stars with lots of praise, and all the subsequent reviews are 1 star with lots of complaints. Of course this is only my opinion and pure speculation.

Has anyone else ever read a review of a product that they thought was obviously fake? Feel free to poke around or any other website and see if you find any other reviews that just seem like BS to you. Make sure you post them for us!

posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 11:46 AM
Here's a perfect comparison of one review which seems real and one which seems fake for the same product.


"I installed a Palm Beach fan in my Gazebo three years ago and it has been trouble free. Looks and works great."


"An excellent eye catching fan, great value in comparison to many other fans on the market today. It adds style to a room that requires significant air movement and this fan accomplishes that with its large wicker styled blades. A quiet fan the moves a large amount of air, even at the lowest speed. Definitely worth checking out!"

The second review is just too specific, like it was printed on the side of the box the fan came in.

Home Depot ceiling fan

posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:05 PM
indeed some people just might get paid for writing this kind of crap for companies.

it wouldn't surprise me since some reviews are indeed too good to be true.

it is sad that companies sink so low, its like an anti virus software maker having people create viruses...

posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:11 PM
I agree, and will point out that there are firms now that hire people to do such things.

For example:

OR, simply do a web search for the terms 'content writer'. You'll be shocked and surprised.

posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 12:07 AM
That's it! I'm not reading the comments online anymore. I did buy my daughter a flat iron based on some comments. The girls were actually posting pictures of their hair before and after. She loves the iron. It was expensive. Maybe guys should post pics of them using their tools.. I might shop in tools more often then....

posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 12:13 AM
reply to post by seagrass

Yeah I love the comments too and find them extremely helpful. That's why this is so upsetting!

posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 12:28 AM
I think you are on the right track to be skeptical about the posts. You already have a sense for what sounds natural. It may make it more fun to weed out the scam posts. I wouldn't stop using the comments if they are helpful. Just be mindful that it would be very easy to cheat in that department. I have never left a comment on something I have purchased, who has time for that?

posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 12:39 AM
It's just the modern version of a Shill

That is a good example of how to do it properly

posted on Aug, 13 2008 @ 02:30 AM
It is commonly referred to as "astroturfing" and takes several forms.

The worst form of astroturfing IMO is the outright lies, fake reviews bolstering a product; the thread parent posted a prime example.

Another form is when a product sponsor gives incentives (such as discounts) for customers to write glowing reviews at the time of purchase, before they have had a chance to actually evaluate the product.

There is really nothing to prevent a person from signing up to every freehost in town and adding fake review sites covering their particular niche, and writing reviews slamming their competitors while lifting their own products high.

posted on Aug, 13 2008 @ 10:09 AM

Originally posted by Symbiote

Another form is when a product sponsor gives incentives (such as discounts) for customers to write glowing reviews at the time of purchase, before they have had a chance to actually evaluate the product.

I've never heard of that one before. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 06:06 PM
Haha. I've written reviews that sound just like catalogue entries. I sort of get possessed by the style bug...can't help it. Since I do it I can imagine others would as well. An astroturfer could easily write with casual and broken speech to emulate the feeling of authenticity as well.

All in all a rectangle on the screen occupied by words really doesn't speak anything about the authenticity of the source.

posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 06:15 PM

Hilarious. Who´s more fool...the guy who cant write reviews that look real, or the guy who falls for it?

The proper way to do it is to add something good and something bad about the product...but not too bad so that the good still outweighs it

posted on Aug, 14 2008 @ 06:18 PM
Companies do, indeed, pay for people to write good reviews on a product that they've never tried. I stumbled upon one such website a while back and it made me rethink every checking product reviews again. If I can find the link in my bookmarks, I'll post it.

[edit on 14-8-2008 by virraszto]

posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 08:45 PM
I read this and immediately thought of this thread:

Amazon Patents Customer Review Incentives

The incentives they are using seem similar to eBay's "Colored Stars" system.

How long will it be before they are offering discounts or rebates?

posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 09:02 PM
I actually know someone who has worked as a personal shopper who claimed they did this for pay. I don’t know if it is true or not, but they told me they worked mainly for a sex toy company called Adam & Eve, I once looked the company up on the net and they do indeed have lots of comments and a rating system.

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 02:34 PM
Some company, such as Amazon have a system that cuts down on a lot of that.

Some Amazon reviewers post under their real names. (it's actually trademarked!) Also, you can easily check what other products the poster has reviewed.

A content writer would quickly stand out in such a system. Of course they could create multiple fake accounts. But then, people trust reviewers with a "past".

For example, if you check out the thread So... Who's Going to Join the Zeitgeist Movement??, you'll find a disproportionate amount of anonymous posts. (all for the movement) For me, this makes me suspicious and I don't take those posts as seriously as the non-anonymous.

[edit on 8/10/08 by ConspiracyNut23]

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 03:55 PM
This kind of thing is done in many forms. Wasn't Sony recently charged and found guilty of promoting movies from false reviews. They were found out to be using quotes from journalists and media outlets that either didn't exist, or were created and run by Sony themselves. I can't remember if they got fined or not, I think so.

Basically, it all means one thing - Trust no one.

posted on Oct, 8 2008 @ 04:25 PM
Yes this is becoming a big thing I used to use IMDB a lot to check out what films were worth watching and it used to be a very good site for that.

Now though it's a completely different story most of the reviews are obviously faked the scores aren't reliable I've watched low scoring films that were very good and high scoring ones that were awful.

A lot of video game sites are the same and don't report fairly anymore you can usually guess if a game will get a good score solely by the company that made it even if it is a horrible game it will appear on the sites in question with at least an 85% score.

It's not all the companys way though sometimes not even the companys can control the backlash their products generate for a good example check the amazon reviews of SPORE Reviews for Spore so we can still get our points across.

Although Amazon are apparently now blocking any votes for a one score but at this stage that's just damage control but in my eyes dishonest.

I would say don't trust any online reviews the companys can and will interfere with the results and bribe/pay the reviewers or even sue and serve takedown notices for unfavourable reviews.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 11:29 PM
reply to post by Teknikal

Your mentioning of movies got me thinking. Unfortunately I can't remember the particular film but I remember hearing about a reviewers comments (one of those before the movie is actually released to the public) as being faked. In other words they had a paid person write a "outstanding! Not to be missed!!" type of pre-release that claimed to be from a specific newspaper. Turned out that the newspaper had no one by that name writing or employed by that newspaper. I think it was a Sony movie in fact about 4 years ago I heard of this. I highly doubt that the practice has ended.

One thing that I'll do is that dealing with comments about a certain item is to wait until several reviews (no less than 10) have appeared on the site. It gives me a more accurate estimate.

Oh and thanks concerning the "Spore" mention. I had been looking forwards to playing it but I found out that my system couldn't handle it and I debated getting an upgrade so that I could play it. Now I don't think that I'll bother.

posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 11:47 PM

Originally posted by Jadette
I agree, and will point out that there are firms now that hire people to do such things.

For example:

OR, simply do a web search for the terms 'content writer'. You'll be shocked and surprised.

WOW that is so horrible! hahaha

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