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Spotting Fake Reviews - of products, hotels, restaurants, dctrs, dentists, etc.

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Spotting Fake Reviews - of products, hotels, restaurants, dctrs, dentists, etc.

Old 02-12-18, 09:49 AM
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PB7
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Spotting Fake Reviews - of products, hotels, restaurants, dctrs, dentists, etc.

Fake reviews seem to be sharply on the rise. Forbes had a recent article about it.

For some items on Amazon, many or most, or in extreme cases all of the reviews are faked. The sellers are paying someone to post fake reviews, or doing it themselves.

There are many professional fake reviewers offering their services.

There are "click farms" in China and other countries who are selling a thousand or ten thousand clicks for a few dollars. They have racks of phones along the walls of their offices, busy with fake clicks; and they do a brisk business.

Being misled about an inferior sleeping bag or other product can set you back a bit. Being misled about a bad dentist or doctor while on tour overseas can really set you back.

A researcher at Cornell University has tested people's abilities to spot fake reviews. People are not very good at it, and some fake reviews fool just about everyone.

There are also people who sell their services posting fake but very convincing positive reviews on YouTube.

There are some detection aids. One is an app called Spotfake. There is also ReviewMeta. Cornell University has some good tools.

You can also sharpen your senses, or personal detection skills, by becoming more aware of how the fake reviewers operate and differ from genuine reviewers. Cornell has some good information and tips on that. Other resources can also be helpful. It isn't always intuitive or obvious, and there are helpful signs that you can learn about or become aware of.

If anyone has something on the subject, pls feel free to share it.
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Old 02-12-18, 11:03 AM
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alan s 
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Say what? Not everything on the web is true, accurate and honest? Someone should look into this immediately!
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Old 02-12-18, 11:29 AM
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I just assume most reviews are biased, especially most bicycle product reviews in magazines and online publications.

The one exception I can think of being user reviews at MEC as you need to own a membership to shop there.
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Old 02-12-18, 11:32 AM
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Don't know if I've been taken in by fake reviewers, but I pay attention to reviews. What I have noticed is people either love it or hate it. The "hate its", i.e. bad reviews I look at. Oftentimes a bad review is apparently a result of the reviewer's frustration (it didn't work/fit/assemble as expected, etc) so they hate it. Or the reviewer's ignorance (I couldn't get it to fit, didn't have X tool, ordered wrong size, wrong color, I needed to order larger/smaller, etc.) Most of these I weed out. And those who say, "horrible product, piece of junk" with no explanation. Negative reviews that are constructive (poor quality product because... , defective, quickly broke, etc) are IMO useful.
Above I mentioned people either seem to love it or hate it. There is usually not many in-between reviews. If there are, these are sometimes helpful.

And strangely, I rarely leave reviews unless I'm really satisfied. I usually won't slam a product I'm dissatisfied with unless it is a result of really poor quality or lack of customer service.
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Old 02-12-18, 11:59 AM
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What does this have to do with touring? What does this have to do with bicycles? Put this in Foo.

Maybe its time to stop posting and get a feel for how the forum works...you aren't making a good first impression.
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Old 02-12-18, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
what does this have to do with touring? What does this have to do with bicycles? Put this in foo.

Maybe its time to stop posting and get a feel for how the forum works...you aren't making a good first impression.

+1.
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Old 02-12-18, 12:04 PM
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So... if a company offers a person "free product" (or a free stay in a hotel). And, the reviewer actually gets the product in hand, and reviews it...

Is it fake?

Of course, the reviewer may not ever get anything sent to them again if they post a bad review. The other issue is that there is often a rush to do the reviews. How can one possibly review a bicycle tire without having it on one's bike for a year?
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Old 02-12-18, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
So... if a company offers a person "free product" (or a free stay in a hotel). And, the reviewer actually gets the product in hand, and reviews it...

Is it fake?
IMO, practically speaking, yes.
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Old 02-12-18, 12:44 PM
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This reminds me of 'The Shed at Dulwich' where I guy fake reviewed his backyard shed to the top reviewed restaurant in London on Trip Advisor.
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Old 02-12-18, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
So... if a company offers a person "free product" (or a free stay in a hotel). And, the reviewer actually gets the product in hand, and reviews it...

Is it fake?

Of course, the reviewer may not ever get anything sent to them again if they post a bad review. The other issue is that there is often a rush to do the reviews. How can one possibly review a bicycle tire without having it on one's bike for a year?
The average ratings that come from these reviewers have been shown to be consistently higher.

They often say they are not being influenced, and the wording is similar in many cases.

There are also many reviewers who have been offered free refunds if they will post a glowing five star review. They get to keep the product.

Bike products and products and services for bike tourists are not exempt.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by PB7 View Post
The average ratings that come from these reviewers have been shown to be consistently higher.

They often say they are not being influenced, and the wording is similar in many cases.
Many reviews are motivated by bad product experiences, which then get splattered all over the internet.

So, yes, a "reviewer" may give higher reviews just due to the numbers.

Also, as we're all aware, issues often don't show up until later either because something broke, wore out, or perhaps a "feature" didn't seem significant at first, so an early review can be misleading. For example, I have a light that I periodically bump the switch on... which turns it to BRIGHT, and rapidly depletes the battery. It never would be an issue... except when bumped.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:14 PM
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For those out there who for whatever reason are not seeing the relatedness to touring, you might try asking yourself, Do bike tourists buy products -- for touring -- online? Do they read reviews of those products -- again,
for touring? Do they research and read reviews of accommodations -- again, for touring?

Do they ever need dental or medical care -- while on tour?

Do they ever want to find good restaurants -- or other goods and services -- while on tour?

I have done every one of these just in the past few months (as well as before, and continuing into the future), and am sure there are a number of others here who have done they same.

Yesterday I was looking into buying an 800 fill down bag online, for touring, and discovered, using a data analytics app mentioned above, that many if not most of the positive reviews are fake.

In the original post, the relatedness is clearly indicated: "Being misled about an inferior sleeping bag or other product can set you back a bit. Being misled about a bad dentist or doctor while on tour overseas can really set you back." (Break a tooth on a fragment of a pit while touring; end up in the hands of a poor dentist; complications ensue; 1400.00, and expensive follow-up to correct it.... -- and I've heard of worse experiences and outcomes than those I've had.)

I could add to the above, but hope it is enough for you guys to see the relevance. So please just stop with all the false complaints, negativity and trolling. Just go elsewhere if the topic doesn't interest you. Your whining does not contribute. If you have something decent, positive and on-topic to contribute, please do.

Last edited by PB7; 02-12-18 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Of course, the reviewer may not ever get anything sent to them again if they post a bad review....
This is true. It actually happens.

The other side of it is that those who play the game and give good reviews and five star ratings are offered more products, often deeply discounted, to review.

Companies are also recruiting reviewers on social media by offering them full refunds once they post their "great" reviews.

Last edited by PB7; 02-12-18 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 02-12-18, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CreakingCrank View Post
This reminds me of 'The Shed at Dulwich' where I guy fake reviewed his backyard shed to the top reviewed restaurant in London on Trip Advisor.
Good one.

The more I learn about it, the more pervasive it looks. Apparently it is now becoming more popular with doctors and dentists too.

Yelp seems to do a better job than Google, Amazon, Trip Advisor and others. They use filters and data tools that catch a lot of the fake reviews, but a lot still get through.

I used Airbnb in Thailand recently, as well as other sites and reviews, including dental, and wish I had had some additional tools and knowledge to navigate the maze at times. Especially when it comes to serious or potentially serious dental and medical care.

Last edited by PB7; 02-12-18 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 02-12-18, 02:53 PM
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Thread doesn’t belong in Touring. If there’s interest, start a new thread in Foo.
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