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How to Spot Fake Supplement Reviews on Amazon

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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How to Spot Fake Supplement Reviews on Amazon

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Overwhelmed by fake supplement reviews? The internet is a wonderful thing. When we need help solving a problem or getting information its infinite resources are there, ready. Within a few searches and clicks, we’re usually well on the way to getting the problem solved. One of the most remarkable tools at our disposal is the fast access to the wisdom of crowds. Do you ever search for a supplement on Amazon and click straight through to the customer reviews? Of course, we all instinctively reach for the reliable testimonials of real customers. People who have tried the product in the real world. Not the marketing pitch of the company who profits from your purchase. And we don’t only get access to one testimonial. There are often hundreds of reviews. Together, they provide such a comprehensive picture of the product it’s like we’ve already tried it ourselves.

But there’s a dark side. We’ve all been let down by the system. We order something that doesn’t add up to the raving reviews and leaves us feeling cheated. Or have you come across those products with a bizarre mix of reviews that don’t make sense? It seems like for the same product there are both raving fans and scathing critics.

The problem is that companies have caught on to how potent customer reviews are. And an unscrupulous few have begun to abuse it. Here’s how it works. A company launches a new product and wants to boost it on Amazon. Here’s where cheating comes in. With more positive reviews they get ranked higher. Amazon’s internal product search and recommendation engine favor them with more exposure. Of course, the fake five-star ratings make them more sales. Then they accumulate more reviews from real users. So they hire professional writers to submit fake supplement reviews confirming the products’ benefits.

Or they use fake supplement reviews to attack competition. They find the alternates to their product and submit negative feedback. The credibility of their competition is in doubt for potential customers.

So how do you spot a fake review for supplements on Amazon and other sites? Let’s begin by defining the term. A fake supplement review can be either or both of the following:

  1. A review submitted by someone who hasn’t used the product.
  2. A review submitted by someone because they have been given an incentive by the maker of the product.

Browsing the Amazon webpage on an ipadHere’s a handy guide to spotting questionable reviews a mile away.

Before we dig in, a word of caution. It’s impossible to be 100% accurate when judging a review as either fake or real. There are people who submit false reviews as a full-time job. Their methods are getting sneakier as review driven sales websites get more popular. Try to avoid paranoia. Focus on the more obvious fakes using the criteria here. Cross-reference information so user reviews aren’t your only source when making purchases.

None of these indicators are certain evidence of fake reviews. But all together they can give you a head start. Combine them with common sense and you’ll be well armed against unscrupulous review posting.

Suspicious Language

The wording of a fake supplement review can be a dead giveaway. If the review reads like sales copy, chances are it is. If it describes the product with words like “sublime”, “superior”, or ” heightened verbal acuity”, be on your guard. Normal people use phrases like “It seemed to work pretty well”. They usually stay away from superlative.

Lack of Personal Account

A fake supplement review will often describe the product and say how amazing it is. A person who has actually used the product will describe more from the first person. They will explain their experience. For example. “At first I didn’t notice much, then there was a definite improvement in my focus.” They might also include odd unique details. Like “my partner says it makes me remember the shopping list better.” It feels like someone picturing their recent experience vividly and writing the account from their perspective.


A professional writer has a weak spot: pride. They may use perfect, fancy or decorative writing. Why? Because they can’t resist showing off. If a review seems too perfectly constructed or phrases, it may be a sign that they’re on the payroll. Careful though, as there are many innocent and genuine customers who have a way with words. Use this in combination with other indicators to get a sense of the authenticity of the review.

Badge of Authenticity

Amazon has a reward system called Vine Voices that promotes helpful reviewers. If a review has been submitted by an approved reviewer it will have a label to show. You can trust these. These reviewers have to maintain high standards of integrity to keep their status

Profile history

Click on a reviewer’s username to scope out their history. You can often spot whether they are bogus by their history. If they give glowing reviews to several products by the same company, something’s up. If they do this in a short time frame, something’s definitely wrong. They may also write reviews that follow an obvious formula so they can produce them faster.

Sporadic Bursts of Reviews

A dead giveaway is bursts or positive (or negative) reviews in a short time. You can check the date of submitted reviews just under the star rating. If there are obvious surges in reviews around the same time, they may have been batch ordered. Investigate deeper for other signs too. It may be that there was a marketing drive to the product and the reviews are legit. But if there are signs from other indicators, careful how much you believe.

Use these tools in combination with your instincts. A little digging can save you time by avoiding a bad product. It can also save you from missing out on a good product that’s been attacked by the competition. Always check the guarantee by the seller in case you’re unsatisfied with the product. You can help win the fight by downvoting reviews that are either obviously fake or that are unhelpful. And upvoting reviews that feel legitimate and useful. Most of all, you can help by contributing your own authentic reviews. Keep them well informed, specific and objective. Together we can drown out the dishonest voices, and keep review culture healthy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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