CHOICE membership

Fake reviews crackdown



Productreview has a statement on fake reviews, positive and negative.

Info to flag suspicious reviews is mentioned here.


I’m always suspicious of glowing reviews particularly when there are no negative reviews in the mix, because I am a believer in the axiom “you cannot please all the people all the time”.
It doesn’t matter how good you are or how well you think you are doing your job or deliver your service there are people out there who can never be pleased, (sometimes referred to a ‘professional whingers’) so a honest system will always have some negative feedback even from the best intentioned business operators.

I had some experience with market research some years ago and there was rule of thumb when you researched peoples opinions on any issue if you disregarded the very top positive and very bottom negative answer results from the surveys you got a good gauge on what the majority are thinking and feeling.


Restaurant reviews never lie though? This restaurant became the number one restaurant in London according to TripAdvisor - the only problem is, it didn’t exist. What a funny tale !!! note his admissions at the beginning of the video.

The ‘restaurant’ website is here:

Edited to add: a word of warning re some colourful language in the video for those who may be offended …


It’s up to you, but you’re welcome to mention names when sharing an honest opinion, and if you do I’d suggest including a link. That way people can also have a look and decide for themselves. As mentioned in our article above, “a sudden increase in positive or negative reviews over a short time frame that are out of sync with earlier reviews” can be a sign of fakery.

I don’t think I can improve on the The Shed at Dulwich example, but I’ll add even without some form of trickery that online reviews can be a slippery tool to rely on. This article in the The Atlantic offers an interesting read:

… Online reviewers, they found, were more likely to give premium brands higher ratings, and rarely compared a variety of similar devices in the same setting, as Consumer Reports does by default.

Ultimately, the researchers found that consumers tend to accept as true the collective wisdom that Amazon conveys about a particular item’s durability, safety, and performance. “We don’t want to say that online reviews are completely untrustworthy and have no value whatsoever,” Bart de Langhe, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Colorado Boulder and the co-author of the study, told me. “But we do want to point out there are strong issues with them, and that in many situations you might be better off relying on expert tests.”


Here is an interesting run of positive reviews:

The last 3 1/2 pages of reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and have appeared in the past 4 weeks, nicely timed for the big TV advertising blitz. Strangely, there are quite a few generic (“Dear valued customer”) responses from Sunboost, even when the reviewer’s name is there for all to see.


I enjoyed the questions and dearth of answers more than the exuberant glowing reviews! I clicked on some of those glowing reviews and surprise, they joined ‘today’.


Hmmm … here’s an interesting thread - alternative reviews you might say …

and another unrelated (or not) site:

There was talk of fake employee reviews recently as well - some investment company from memory :wink:


In case this is of use, analyses reviews on some of the larger review websites–Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Apple App Store–by product/page.

The results include an assessment of how many of the reviews are fake, a graph of when reviews were added and more.

I have found it interesting and useful.


I suspect that sometimes reviews aren’t fake but perhaps encouraged or incentivised in some less obvious way…

Recently I was looking for ebike reviews. lists a small subset of the ebikes available and most have very few reviews. But then we come to Leitner ebikes–stacks of reviews, almost all glowing, and most by reviewers who haven’t reviewed other products. The language varies enough to seem genuine, and most are Verified Purchases, but clearly the reviewers joined just to add this specific review.

Leitner ebikes also appear at the top of ebike searches on, with a snippet of one of the (positive) reviews.

And Leitner uses the reviews to call their ebikes “Australia’s No.1 rated eBike brand” which is a great marketing approach.

My guess is that the Australian company buys bikes from China and has them branded as Leitner. The RideOn/Choice review of ebikes from March 2017 doesn’t include Leitner, so the brand must not have been on the radar while the article was being compiled. I wrote to RideOn asking them whether they knew anything about Leitner and pointing out the plethora of reviews, but received no reply.

Whatever Leitner is doing is clever, probably even legal. But clearly skews the market.


Interesting read on the web being woven …