Despite the fact that there is a growing tendency for unscrupulous people to fabricate product reviews that show their products or services in a completely positive light, the fact is that over 60% of consumers still depend on online reviews to help them decide what to buy.
How do you know if they are authentic?
One of the best ways to ensure that you get a true reflection of consumers' opinions about something you want to buy is to check out the reviews posted on several websites.
Another helpful tip is to look for product reviews that have the largest number of responses, because they are more likely to be authentic personal opinions.
This will give you access to a wide range of personal opinion and a balanced view, that will inform your buying decisions.
Some sites are insisting that reviews will only be published when the author has proved that he/she has actually bought the product or service in question.
This is proving to be very effective and there are some very useful reviews about hotels, which are only published once the author has proved they stayed in the hotel or holiday resort in question.
The style of writing is also a good method of sifting out the product reviews produced by a professional writer. Most people don't bother to make their content grammatically correct and well structured, and if you read feedback that sounds like it, then it is coming straight from a marketing brochure.
When buying clothing online, reviews that comment in detail on whether the sizing of the clothes is accurate, too small or too big are a sign of authenticity. When you read a selection of product reviews about clothing, that include negative comments on the quality of the fabric and how well, or badly, the garment washes, this usually indicates honest feedback, too.
If you come across a set of reviews that just give general praise, without making any detailed, personal comments, you should treat them cautiously, because authentic reviews are usually as varied as the people who wrote them.
Even an excellent product will have its detractors, so remember the rule that you can't please all of the people all of the time and take a look at the negative product reviews first.
In addition, if you see something in the negative feedback that rules out the product completely for the purpose you want it for, then you will save time and can look for something that meets your needs more closely.
Furthermore, as the major sites are working hard to bring in controls that stop fakers from posting, it seems highly likely that by 2014 there will be so many checks in place that the predicted percentage of false product reviews will never happen!