5 Tools for Fake Review Detection

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Consumer reviews matter now more than ever, but fake online reviews are at an all-time high. The issue has prompted FTC action as well as new guidelines for retailers that solicit online reviews. While most people can’t spot inauthentic reviews, 67% of consumers say they are concerned about review fraud

Getting caught trafficking in fake reviews can damage a brand’s reputation, even when the brand itself is not behind the deceptive content. The issue has gotten so serious that some brands are investing in fake review detection tools to root out fraudulent posts on popular apps and platforms like Google, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Facebook. Not only can flagging and removing fake reviews help strengthen consumer confidence, but it can also bolster local search rankings for multi-location retail brands.

Here are five tools for fake review detection that brands can try out.

1. The Transparency Company

Founded by Curtis Boyd, The Transparency Company has gained attention for using technology to detect fake reviews at scale. The company recently secured government contracts to help ferret out fake reviews online, using data from hundreds of thousands of deceitful business reviews to create baseline metrics that indicate fraud. Artificial intelligence algorithms use those baseline metrics to score business reviews as “real” or “fake.” Businesses that sign up for the company’s service can certify the reliability of their own reviews by posting Transparency Reports, provided by the company. They can also use the platform to learn which of their competitors are trafficking in fake reviews. 

2. Fakespot

Fakespot uses artificial intelligence to detect fake reviews and scams. The company says its business intelligence tools extract intelligence from consumers’ feedback and turn product page views into conversions. An NLP API works with different types of textual content across the board. Review sentiment tools uncover trends from consumer reviews at scale and help retailers understand what consumers really think about their products or services. While fraud detection is the primary way multi-location retailers use Fakespot, the platform also offers a way for retail marketers to quickly pull out top-level highlights from thousands of online reviews. Those review highlights can then be published on the retailer’s own website as a way to tell shoppers about a product’s quality, price, and packaging.

3. Pasabi

Pasabi’s digital trust and safety platform protects brands from fake accounts and offers a way to take action against third-party sellers manipulating online reviews or selling counterfeit goods. The company’s fake review detection tools work differently from other solutions on this list. Pasabi’s algorithm continually analyzes customer reviews on third-party marketplaces to understand negative seller behaviors. It then detects things like non-deliveries and goods that aren’t as advertised through customer reviews. Retailers can use the information to better understand how reviews are being manipulated by other sellers to incentivise positive feedback or attack competitors. Given the seriousness of the issue, and the damage that online reviews can have on a brand’s reputation, Pasabi will provide its brand clients with actionable evidence to use if they pursue offline legal action against competitors.

4. Bazaarvoice

The Texas-based Bazaarvoice provides software that allows brands and retailers to collect and display user-generated content on their websites. One way the company has worked to bolster the credibility of first-party reviews is by enacting a strict authenticity policy that uses fraud detection technology to identify the submission source of all reviews, along with sophisticated algorithms that allow moderation teams to report suspicious content. While Bazaarvoice refrains from altering reviews, the company does report suspicious behavior to its clients, including automated submissions and degrading content from a brand’s competitor. Brands that comply with Bazaarvoice’s policies can post a “Trust Mark” on their websites as a signal to consumers that the review content they see is safeguarded by a neutral third-party.

5. ReviewTrackers

ReviewTrackers takes a more manual approach to identifying harmful reviews. The platform includes a number of features for monitoring social media posts and online reviews. It aggregates reviews from the top directories and tracks what customers are saying about their experiences, so brand marketers can look for themes or trends. This process makes it easier to identify malicious attacks or bots that don’t appear to be legitimate customers. Brand marketers can use the platform to respond in-app to Google and Facebook reviews, and quickly personalize review responses with on-brand templated responses.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.