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Take the test: how good are you at spotting a fake review?

August 15, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Ever relied on an online review to make a purchasing decision? How do you know it was actually genuine?

Consumer reviews can be hugely influential, so it’s hardly surprising there’s a thriving trade in fake ones. Estimates of their prevalence vary – from 16% of all reviews on Yelp, to 33% of all TripAdvisor reviews, to more than half in certain categories on Amazon.

So how good are you at spotting fake consumer reviews?

A reputable and fascinating study, conducted by a senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Technology Sydney, surveyed 1400 Australians to determine their trust in online reviews and their confidence in telling genuine from fake.

The results suggest many of us may be fooling ourselves about not being fooled by others.

Online consumer reviews were the equal-second most important source for information about products and services, after store browsing. It turns out that most of us rate consumer reviews – the views of perfect strangers – just as highly as the opinion of friends and family.

Trust is central to the importance of reviews in our decision-making.

The most trusted sources for reviews were TripAdvisor.com.au, Google Reviews and ProductReview.com.au.

Those aged 23-38 tended to trust sites the most, and those above 55 tended to trust sites the least.

The study, by senior lecturer in marketing Adrian R. Camilleri, found that while 73% of participants said they trusted online reviews at least a moderate amount, 65% also said it was likely they had read a fake review in the past year.

The study has been published in The Conversation, a site which publishes news and views sourced from the academic and research community.

The article includes some interesting revelations, a chart showing fake reviews and genuine ones – and an interactive feature that lets you test yourself against a real data set of hotel reviews from Chicago. Each example has one real review (posted to Trip Advisor) and one fake review (created by a low-cost mechanical turk service).

So how good are you are telling real from fake? To read the article, learn a bit about the subject and take the test, go to The Conversation website here.

Edited by Peter Needham

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