Thursday, January 17, 2019

Fake reviews and

I used to be an active reviewer in TripAdvisor, until one day. That day, as usual, I was going through TripAdvisor, reviewing places I have been before. I found a large segment of fake reviews. I reported them to TripAdvisor with proof. They did nothing. In fact, an average Indian restaurant had become the #1 in Lisboa, thanks to fake reviews! TripAdvisor failed to take action even though I proved it with substantial evidence. Of course, eventually more people visited, and real reviews started coming in more than the fake ones in number. TripAdvisor re-adjusted the rating to #1,532 of 4,361 Restaurants in Lisbon, from its previous spot, when I checked now (2 years later). [Read the full story]

Rating, once fake reviews are removed
This time I fell for fake reviews on Amazon. A product that does not even work properly got all 5* reviews, thanks to fakes. As of now, with 27 reviews, it is 4.5*, including my 1*. When I bought it, it was all 5* reviews! Then, today I found an excellent website named that identifies fake reviews. It recognizes and eleminates the fake reviews and gives you the correct review back. So according to that site, this product deserves just 1.5*. Indeed, an accurate rating! There is also another website called which does not seem to work as good as
WSJ has made an excellent video on these fake reviews. You should watch it.

Another site I like to use often is, which identifies whether a discount is really a discount by tracing the pricing variations for the products sold on Amazon.

Make sure to check the reviews of the other products from the same vendor when purchasing something. Currently, the product in question has already been sold out, and I am not even sure whether the seller will sell it again. Probably they bought some of these in Chinese street market and sold them all successfully soon after. Therefore, blacklisting or making aware of the buyers of a single product is not going to work. This has to happen at making aware of shady vendors, not just their dubious products. Next time, need to be a bit more vigilant when shopping in Amazon. The fakes are improving their game.

Update (Jan 19th):
Now with my 1-* review together with someone else's 1-* review (which I think the only honest reviews) in consideration, Fakespot has updated its rating to the product as 0-*. Indeed the ideal rating for this product. I wish Amazon lets me give 0-* ratings. :) 

  • How are reviewers describing this item?
    good, easy, nice, little and better.
  • Our engine has profiled the reviewer patterns and has determined that there is high deception involved.
  • Our engine has analyzed and discovered that 16.1% of the reviews are reliable.
  • This product had a total of 31 reviews on Jan 19 2019.

Update (March 17th):
The seller contacted me over the phone (from China!) and email and tried to negotiate me to delete the review by offering me increasing offers of 10$, 30$, and 50$ with a full refund with the product as free. I already returned the product and got the full refund during the refund window. I sent their email communications with all the proofs to Amazon and asked them to take action. Amazon failed to take action and the seller managed to delete some (at least one 1-star review, I noticed) negative reviews with similar bribes.

Their email goes like this:


Regarding your Amazon Product Review

Dear Customer,
Thank you for purchasing our Active Stylus Pen
Thank you for your purchase and taking the time to write a product review. We are terribly sorry to hear the product you received is defective and would like to know if we can send you a free replacement or assist you with a refund.

Customer reviews is important to us and we value your response. All responses will be used to further improve the quality of our service and products.

We saw the 1 star review you wrote down on January 16. This has a great impact on us. We are just a small seller. This will cause great harm to us. I want to ask you to help me delete this 1 star review. Can you help me?

We can provide you with a full refund and the product will be given as a gift, and we will pay you an additional $50 as compensation.

Can you accept it?

Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for giving us the opportunity to rectify the matter.

Looking forward to your reply

Sincerly yours
Milletech Customer Service Team


Of course, my review will remain there. I truly wish Amazon was more proactive in removing or restricting these fake sellers. The product is thriving with more and more fake reviews. Amazon took 0 action to protect the customers from this shady seller. On the other hand, this is just a sample. I am sure that this is not the first or the last product to use fake reviews to boost the sales. Amazon agreed that the seller got my phone number and email address from their system. It is really bad that Amazon discloses this information to the seller without a valid reason. This information enables the sellers to bribe or threaten the customers to leave positive reviews.

Finally, I ask everyone to do additional research rather than blindly trusting the reviews they find online. Remember that a review you read online may have been incentivized even if they do not explicitly say so.

1 comment:

  1. Great! Thanks for sharing your Amazon Review Service. It was very helpful for amazon FBA sellers.


You are welcome to provide your opinions in the comments. Spam comments and comments with random links will be deleted.