Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Fakes Everywhere

Fake news has come up with Donald Trump's rise to the position of President and it is constantly monitored now.  An area that isn't in the spotlight as it should be is Fake Reviews.  It got my attention with yesterday's purple mattress company's  'verified reviews.'

How much was TripAdvisor fined for fake reviews? It was fined $610,000 in Italy for failing to prevent fake reviews.  Italy has followed through with fraud convictions of fake reviewers who have made significant amounts of money creating false reviews for TripAdvisor.  That doesn't seem like enough of a fine to deter them in the future.  I didn't see any articles on more companies convicted of this - yet 40% of businesses who sell online are negatively impacted by fake reviews.  

The big story is Amazon. BuzzFeed looks in-depth at the Amazon Fake Review Economy HERE.   This is an expose of how the industry works.  It is called a review-fraud economy.  It is a complicated system of sellers, reviewers, and how buying and selling reviews works.

Closed groups on Facebook and 'Slack' channels are used for the tens of thousands of underground workers who bid on creating 'reviews' and get paid per piece written.  Amazon's platform services are so open that what has resulted is a war of sellers and a labour force engaged in fraud as paid work.

Sellers undermine competitive products by creating false reviews.  There are businesses whose business is to copy products, put them on Amazon for sale, and then create reviews to promote the copied product and demote the real product - even if its has a patent.  Amazon's open platform facilitates this.  Amazon doesn't want to alienate third party sellers - that's a third of its business.  However, it is causing financial disasters for small businesses that have a genuine product.

In terms of the Fake Reviews, one approach to the problem is to sort out the false from the real. The organization Review Verifier showed two ads and asked which of these two hotel reviews is real.  They describe the general characteristics to look for in fake reviews. They say deceptive writers used more verbs than real review writers did.  Real writers used more punctuation than deceptive writers.  The deceptive writers also focused more on family and activities while the real writers focused more on the hotels themselves.  CNET is a company that offers an automated approach HERE.  Or go to Fakespot.com to paste in a url and they will analyze it for fake reviews.  
Another site strips out the fake reviews and adjusted the rating without the questionable reviews. 

In contrast to this, I found these summertime pictures.  The first is the Daniel B. Stowe Botanic Garden, and the second a casual Toronto Island garden.  



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