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3 Ways to Spot Product Ratings Inflated by Fake Reviews

by on May 14, 2020
in Shopping, Computers and Software, Internet & Networking, Tips & How-Tos :: 2 comments

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3 Ways to Spot Product Ratings Inflated by Fake Reviews

We all use product ratings and reviews in the process of deciding which product to buy. And, we all want products that get a 4-5 star rating, but an analysis by Best SEO Companies found that 42 percent of product reviews on Amazon in some electronics product categories are fake or compensated. It's time-consuming to read through all of the reviews to see if the rating is falsely inflated. That's where review-rating sites and tools, like Fakespot, ReviewMeta, and The Review Index, come in handy. They automatically scan posted reviews for the telltale signs of fake reviews, analyzing spelling, grammar, number of reviews, purchase patterns, and more, and let you know the likelihood that there are fake reviews inflating the rating. The tools support their review ratings with data from their analysis, so you can judge how important their findings are, and Fakespot and ReviewMeta present an adjusted star rating.

All of the following tools work on Amazon listings and Fakespot works on additional sites, including Best Buy, Sephora and Walmart. For all of the tools, you'll want to download the browser extension for the best experience on Amazon. For Amazon, the Fakespot browser extension adds a prominent review grade to the page and an icon to any products listed on the page, the ReviewMeta extension will add a product rating number to your address bar (clicking will take you to the review rating page), and The Review Index will indicate with a checkmark that review ratings are available and clicking the icon will take you directly to the review rating page. See below:

Review extensions running on Amazon

The review ratings can be outdated, so be sure to check the date on the report and rerun the review analysis if it's more than a week old. If the report is really old or a report has never been run, the tools will let you know. Keep in mind that the tools are not infallible, but they will help raise your awareness of when you should be skeptical of a rating and read a product's reviews more closely. In particular, I've found that Fakespot has had more negative rating recently, so I usually check all three ratings. 


Fakespot review

Fakespot has an easy-to-use letter grading scale with A and B meaning that you can trust most of the reviews, C meaning there is a mix of fake and trustworthy reviews, and D and F meaning most reviews are unreliable. Fakespot backs up its grades with data they use to come up with the grade but doesn't go into how they judge review quality. In addition to the grade,  they provide a summary of the reviews, pulling quotes from what they consider to be the most relevant reviews. 

The review rating appears prominently on Amazon pages once you have installed the Chrome browser extension, but for other supported sites, you'll need to input the URL at Fakespot. Besides Amazon, you can input URLs for products on Best Buy, Sephora, Steam and Walmart, as well as listings on Yelp and TripAdvisor



ReviewMeta provides an adjusted product rating for products sold on Amazon, based on the reviews it deems are real. If you install the browser extension, you'll see the product rating in the address bar superimposed on top of the ReviewMeta icon. ReviewMeta provides a lot of detail supporting its revised rating. It shows how the ratings failed and where they passed, as well as the data they used to come to those conclusions. You can also read a sample of what it considers most trusted reviews and the least trusted reviews. 

ReviewMeta is available as a Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari browser extension or you can cut and paste the URL at ReviewMeta.

The Review Index

The Review Index

The Review Index provides an easy-to-read numerical review score out of 10 points for product pages. The site also does a nice job of summarizing review comments based on features. So for headphones, you'll be able to see a percentage of positive reviews by feature and read the comments on sound quality, fit, and more all in one spot. The Review Index spam test judges the quality of the reviews based on factors like review count per reviewer and how many reviews a reviewer writes per day.

In addition to Amazon product reviews, The Review Index assesses reviews at Steam

Get The Review Index Chrome or Firefox browser extension or input the Amazon or Steam product URL at TheReviewIndex.

Updated on 5/14/2020

[Image credit: love hate keys via Shutterstock]

Discussion loading


Sad that how the apps use your data is not covered

From Jamie Murdock on September 30, 2020 :: 1:01 pm

Just look at the difference!

Fakespot privacy policy
“How do we use your Personal Information?
We may use your personal information in several ways:
Serve you advertising from our advertising partners;
Provide you with information or advertising relating to our products or services;
Store your product analysis and search history on the Service;”
and “Please note that we do not alter our Service’s data collection and use practices when we see a Do Not Track signal from your browser.”  ref:

ReviewMeta Privacy
“How We Use the Information We Gather
We do not distribute or sell your personal information. We do not send you advertisements and we do not share your email address with anyone.”



If there is something unusual we discover, we note it.

From Josh Kirschner on September 30, 2020 :: 3:11 pm

The privacy policies of both those sites are pretty standard and not as different, in practice, as you suggest with the excerpts above. It’s mostly just that the privacy policies use different language to say the same thing. This may, in part, be due to Fakespot updating their policy in May 2020, whereas, ReviewMeta is still running a four-year old policy from 2016, which is prior to GDPR and CCPA (that’s actually a bad sign).

To clarify, both sites use cookies to serve targeted ads, and track what you do on their site and what pages you visit (which is pretty consistent with almost all ad-supported websites). Unless you voluntarily provide your email address to either site or use one of their other services (like Fakespot’s Chrome toolbar), that’s all any user should be concerned about (if that concerns you).


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