How to spot fake reviews and avoid getting suckered by them.
One of the slimiest marketing practices on the Internet is the fake review. Some marketers will say ANYTHING to make a sale. The most subtle form of the fake review is the supposedly "independent" review site. These sites are setup by affiliate marketers who get paid based on each sale they generate. Note that there is a serious conflict of interest as these marketers will make the most money by promoting the products with the highest commissions/payouts. These marketers also generally do not disclose that they are getting paid to generate sales. Don't get scammed by these sites as their goal is to make as much money as possible rather than providing useful information. Often, the marketers putting up these sites haven't used the products or services they are marketing.
The way to spot these affiliate marketing sites is to check whether or not they contain affiliate links. These links contain codes that allow visitors to be tracked and therefore credit the affiliate marketer with a sale.
To check an affiliate link, move your mouse cursor over the link and look at the URL that is displayed by your web browser in the lower part of your screen. You should see the following URL for the previous link:
The codes /BI/1234/KBID/5678 at the end of the link identify the affiliate marketer's account (1234 and 5678 are made up numbers).
Other affiliate links look like the following:
http://affiliatename.cybersam.hop.clickbank.net (Anything with clickbank in it is probably an affiliate link.)
http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-1234567-12345678 (commission junction link; will redirect to the retailer's website.)
Unfortuantely, there are ways for affiliates to cloak their links to make them hard to spot. Fortunately, most affiliate marketers aren't bothering to do this yet.
Another way of spotting fake review sites is if you found the site through paid advertising. Anybody who is paying for advertising (e.g. sponsored links in Google) is looking to make money.
There are many sites around such as resellerratings.com which offer price comparisons and reviews of retailers. Unfortunately, anybody can post reviews to these sites and therefore it is possible for devious companies to post positive reviews for themselves. Sloppy fake reviews can be detected if the shill is sloppy and does not write natural-sounding reviews or does not cover their tracks (e.g. uses same IP, IP does not match geography, etc.). However, there is little that can be done to prevent a good shill from posting positive fake reviews.
Products where you need to watch out for fake reviews or scams:
Web hosting reviews
Weight loss products: Wu Yi Tea | Acai Berry scam
Easy money schemes: Jeff Paul's Internet Millions | Rich Jerk | Reverse Funnel System | Google Cash scam | Passport to Wealth | Blessings Unlimited
Affiliate page deconstructions at Ripoff Radar: Lifecell / wrinkle cream review sites | Web hosting reviews | Weight loss scams (e.g. Wu Yi green tea, Acai berry) | ThermothinPlus with Acai / Colon Cleanse
This site by Glenn Chan. Please email any comments or questions to glennchan /at/ gmail.com