The Madeleine Brand Show for July 9, 2012

How to tell if an online review is real or fake

online review, amazon review

An Amazon review of the book, "Knitting With Dog Hair: Better A Sweater From A Dog You Know and Love Than From A Sheep You'll Never Meet."

If you're shopping for something, you probably go online to websites like Yelp or Amazon to check out the reviews. But, how do you know if those reviews are trustworthy?

Madeleine spoke with Jeff Hancock about the legitimacy of online reviews. Hancock is an associate professor of Communication at Cornell University and he studies the topic.

"Unfortunately we humans are really bad at detecting deception..." says Hancock.

So, he decided to help us out. Here are a few things that you can do to give yourself the upper hand when reviewing reviews.

- Look for websites that verify that a reviewer has used their product.

- Examine the language of the review: if the review describes the feeling of the place or product in specific detail, then odds are, it's real. If the reviewer skirts around describing the product or place and instead focuses on who they were with and what they were doing at the place or with the product, odds are the review is fake.

- You can also go to Review Skeptic , the website that Hancock runs. It examines language of the review to tell if it's fake or not. It has a 90 percent accuracy rate.


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