How to Spot Shill Review Sites
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How to Spot Shill Review Sites

In an ideal world, scammers and fake review sites don’t exist. But with increasing interest in online shopping in Singapore (and the rest of the world), paid review sites are now becoming all-too-common.

So how do you spot shill review sites and not get reeled in by fake testimonies and scam sellers? 

It might take some practice, but if you follow the tips indicated in this post, you might just become an expert in no time.

Investigate if the website is just a glorified advertising page.

Investigate if the website is just a glorified advertising page

There are trustworthy review sites like the Better Business Bureau which feature verified customer feedback and if issues have been resolved by the company. But what about those review sites that you aren’t familiar with?

It’s easy enough to check out the website itself. Beyond looking at how impressive the website design is, it would be practical to investigate the content, as well. 

Are the reviews lengthy and numerous enough? Or are there no actual reviews, but a lot of advertising for products and services all over the pages, instead? 

You can also run your antivirus software on suspicious websites so you can protect your private information (and hard-earned money).

The “client feedback” echo the same sentiments.

The “client feedback” echo the same sentiments

Plenty of social media sites and e-commerce platforms allow product and service reviews. But you can discern which ones are actual impartial reviews and those that are obviously paid or fake ones.

For starters, if the reviews are all five-star types echoing the same sentiments over and over, it’s probably a shill site. And it’s especially suspicious if the client reviews were done within minutes or days of each other.

Observe how detailed the reviews are, as well. If there are no mentions of specific features and a unique customer perspective, you can consider it a red flag that the review is fake.

Use reverse image search on client testimonies with pictures.

Use reverse image search on client testimonies with pictures

This tip requires some effort and time on your part, but it will be worth it to know if something’s fishy about a review site.

Some reviewers prefer to use stock photo images or GIFs (because not everyone has the time or budget for proper photo studio shots). But if it’s become the norm instead of the exception, then something is definitely up with the site.

You can run a reverse image search on those reviews that seem too good to be true and see if they’ve been used on other sites before. 

In the same vein, you can use a plagiarism site to check if testimonies have been copied and pasted from other review sites or products, as well.

See if reviews come with details of the product or service.

See if reviews come with details of the product or service

Client feedback is a valued way to advertise and vouch for the quality of a product or service, whether it’s for skincare items, food delivery services, home appliances, or staycation hotels

But if the review site features generic descriptions of locations, ingredients, and generalised “values”, you might be looking at either an affiliate blog or one that has fake reviewers.

Genuine review sites will get into details about what they like or dislike about a product or service. And those reviewing service providers, in particular, can mention specific names of staff, management, or technicians they’ve encountered.

So look for review sites that have ways to verify if customers actually bought or availed of their product or service.