Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the vast majority of countries. It’s a reputable brand that millions of people around the world have learned to trust. They have a massive array of products and trusted sellers that more often than not provide quality service in the realm of customer service and satisfaction. Overall, Amazon is a highly trusted company in which very rarely do consumers experience any problems.
However, Amazon does have one issue which adds a bit of distrust. Amazon’s review system is highly ‘gameable’ and many consumers have reported that the reviews of the product don’t match up to their experience of the product. Often this discrepancy has to do with the quality and usage of the product.
So, what makes Amazon reviews untrustworthy? In most cases, Amazon allows just about any user to post a review about a product whether or not they actually ordered it from Amazon. Allowing any user to post a review means that users who potentially never tried the product are able to leave a review.
This ‘open’ review system allows for large groups of users, communities or companies to manipulate the score of a product or service. For example, in many situations, public backlash against a company will result in thousands of angry consumers going to their page to leave negative reviews. In many cases, these negative reviews have nothing to do with the product, but something the company did, often politically or socially that upset consumers. Thousands of consumers will then go and leave fake and angry reviews.
In the reverse situation, companies will add their own fake reviews, or bribe customers to leave good reviews about their product by giving away freebies. These tactics may artificially inflate the overall score of the product or service and leave future consumers disappointed by the actuality of the product.
What Should You Do?
One way to eliminate the chances of buying a product with artificial reviews is to look for reviews from ‘verified buyers.’ If you look at reviews on Amazon, some of them will have ‘Verified Purchase’ next to the reviewer’s name. That means they actually ordered the product off of Amazon. If they actually ordered the product, you can be relatively certain they may have a more genuine review. It’s much harder for companies or ‘outraged-never-customers’ to have a verified purchase account unless they want to waste money on a single review.