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Artificial vs. fake: How AI fights fake reviews

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. If you’re thinking robots, you’re not far off the truth. But unlike in movies, these robots (or bots) don’t have to be corporeal. In fact, many AI applications don’t need a physical body at all.

Think of the smiling cartoon characters that talk to you when you land on various websites. Those are chatbots (chat robots) that aim to help customers solve their most basic questions, saving time and resources for their “employers”.

Or think of the way Google finishes your sentence when you start typing something into the search bar. That’s also AI, trying to guess what you’re looking for based on what other people have been looking for.

AI is everywhere, trying to make our lives easier and safer. And now, AI can be used to help us make online shopping safer.

How fake reviews hurt consumers

Have you ever wondered where online product reviews come from? Sure, many of those are legitimate, written by real people who have really tried the product. But companies have long realized that online reviews are very valuable.

More often than not (especially nowadays, in COVID times), reviews are the only impartial way potential customers can learn about a product. After all, company websites tend to talk up their own goods. Which makes an impartial review by a real customer that much more valuable to potential shoppers. But are those reviews really impartial, and written by real customers?

In the hunt for good product reviews, companies may resort to increasingly shady methods. Some would pay a person to try their product and write a glowing review. Others would go a bit further and use auto-generated fake reviews that don’t even originate from real human beings.

Well, this is where Fakespot comes in.

AI vs. fake reviews

Founded and based in the US, Fakespot is a startup that aims to help consumers navigate in the jungle of online shops and reviews. It’s easy to use: you download a free extension to your browser, and Fakespot does its work for you in the background.

It helps you find authentic and helpful reviews that mention the most important features of a product like quality, packaging, or shipping. It can draw your attention to the bad reputation of a seller if applicable, and even help you find better deals for the same product by other sellers.

How does it work

Fakespot’s AI was trained on over eight billion online reviews, both authentic and fake. Having gone through that many reviews, the algorithm is able to determine if a text is automatically generated, or ended up on a website by commission and not in an organic way (i.e. written by a real customer).

With every check Fakespot does, its AI keeps learning. This literally means that the service gets better every day.

How fake reviews hurt brands

Not only customers can be hurt by fake reviews. While not as obvious as in the case of consumers, brands can suffer from fake reviews as well, especially in the long term. How?

Via the loss of the most elusive currency in the world of commerce: trust.

Trust and loyalty are hard to quantify, yet they are indispensable for brands. If a distributor of your products wants to boost their ratings and displays a few fake reviews in their online shop, customers will eventually realize it.

However, it’s not only the distributor they won’t trust any more, but the products offered by them as well. Which means that through no fault of your own, you’ll lose the valuable trust of your customers. And according to a recent survey, 82% of consumers who’ve lost their trust in a brand will not give it another chance.

Luckily, you don’t have to contend with this. Since fake reviews are a massive problemaffecting many brands across all industries, there are proven strategies that can work against them.

How to fight against fake reviews

Fake reviews come in many shapes and sizes. Both positive and negative reviews may be fake, the only difference is that they’re created for a very different purpose. For example, positive reviews may be generated by the business owner or seller themselves, while competitors or former employees with a grudge may drop a bad review to tarnish a business’ reputation.

As mentioned earlier, many strategies can be helpful against fake reviews. The right approach always depends on the nature, size, and image of your brand.

Spot a fake review

As a first and very obvious step, you have to determine if a particular review is fake or not. Sometimes, fake reviewers make it easy for you by leaving typos in their short and generic reviews.

However, not all fake reviews are created equal. Spotting a well-written fake review amongst real ones can be hard, especially if you’re not used to detecting telltale nuances in a text.

Using Fakespot or another software tool can help brands here as well as consumers. Try running the review text through the software and let AI help you determine if you’re most likely facing an auto-generated fake review or an authentic one.

Flag the review

If you’ve determined that the review is fake, let the review website or marketplace know by flagging the review. Many platforms, including Google, Yelp, or Amazon have built-in processes for flagging and removing fake reviews.

Tie reviews to verified purchases

If you’re selling via your own online store or able to make a deal with the marketplace you’re selling on, try to tie reviews to verified purchases. Although even these may be faked, many fake reviewers don’t bother with actually buying the products so there’s a higher chance that reviews tied to verified purchases are real.

Check what your distributors are up to

For brands with a large distribution network, dealing with fake reviews may be even harder. The sheer volume of marketplaces, vendors, and products could easily prevent you from calling out fake reviews.

In a worst case scenario, even your own distributor may publish fake reviews to boost their business. As discussed above, this may cause serious harm to your brand. If you want to know if your business partners hold themselves to their side of the agreement, globaleyez’s partner compliance service is here to help you.

We conduct test purchases, mystery shopping, in-depth research, and much more to determine if your business partner complies with their contract and whether they represent your brand according to your agreement.

Watch out for grey marketers

It’s hard enough to track down fake reviews in your verified distribution network. But what about sellers who may offer your branded products without your knowledge? This is called grey marketing, and it’s a problem that affects many brands.

Grey marketing distorts the market, robbing you of rightful profits and diminishing customer trust. Moreover, grey marketers who offer your products represent your brand without having any legal relationship with you, which harms your brand in a less quantifiable but very real way.

Many of globaleyez’s services, including marketplace monitoring, test purchases, image monitoring, and marketplace sales tracking can filter out grey marketers. It’s the best way to deal with fake reviews by grey marketers: eliminate grey marketing altogether!

If you want to find out more about how globaleyez can help you protect your brand from fake reviews, grey marketing, and much more, contact us.

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