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Spot Fake Kindle Reviews With FakeSpot

26 January 2016

From The Digital Reader:

Amazon has taken many steps to clean up its review section, including suing sellers of fake reviews and forbidding any relationship between author and reviewer, but sometimes that’s just not enough.

Sometimes you can’t trust the mass of four and five star ratings, and that is where Fakespot comes in. This website (there’s also a Chrome extension) hoovers up the reviews for a given product, crunches some algorithms, and gives you an estimate of the number of questionable reviews.

All you have to do is copy and paste a link to learn that, for example, around one in four reviews for The Girl on the Train were suspect.

. . . .

Fakespot is less than specific on what makes for a questionable review, but according to Cnet the reviews were flagged because the reviewers write only overwhelmingly positive reviews, reviewed products without purchasing them, or were determined to have written other reviews about the same company.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Amazon, Reviews

31 Comments to “Spot Fake Kindle Reviews With FakeSpot”

  1. Wow. I just did this on my book Blood Faerie, which has 531 reviews, 100% by legit readers. I have never paid for a review nor done anything remotely dodgy to get reviews. This “service” claimed 40% of them were “low quality”. What a bunch of BS.


  2. An interesting idea, but I question how valuable it is. Even if we ignore the holes in what they consider to be a fake review you’re left not knowing which reviews to trust.

    • A big black hole here, and certainly affecting the percentage of “low quality” reviews, is the unknown algorithms developed and used to crunch the numbers. It’s GIGO, with no means of ascertaining accuracy.

      I note in the examples above that the percentage of perceived fake reviews is consistently about 40%. That same figure repeated so often makes me suspect the app’s accuracy and validity.

  3. Interesting idea. But I think book reviews are different than an electric toothbrush.

    one of the criteria they use to spot “fake” reviews is “has done a total of 10 reviews for the same company” That’s really easy to do with authors. I can name dozens of author’s I’ve read in the last two years that I’ve read over 10 books by them.

    Another thing that comes up is “Our analysis has detected product exchange for reviews.” It’s very common for authors to send out review copies to bloggers or NetGalley.

    • It’s worse thanthat, actually. Fakespot lists “Kindle Store” as the company. So anyone who has ten reviews in the Kindle Store will be flagged.

  4. false positives could seriously damage a valid book’s sales. I hope readers who use this understand how many grains of salt to keep with them.

    • “I hope readers who use this understand how many grains of salt to keep with them.”

      Each ‘grain’ of that salt being at least a meter on a side …

      With the ‘40%’ or so fake hits ‘everyone’ is seeing, I’d guess the biggest fake is Fakespot itself …

  5. Utterly bogus. Flagged as fake a review I know is real. The guy is not a great writer, and the software called the review “inauthentic”.

    22% fake on 100% authentic reviews. Great job, Fakeout.

  6. Douglas Preston’s Blue Labyrinth 22.2% Monster of Florence 23.3%
    Richard Russo’s Empire Falls 0% Elsewhere 13.6%
    Roxana Robinson’s Sparta 52.4% Cost 14.3%
    Scott Turow’s Innocent 7.1% One L 13%

  7. 25% of Girl on the Train are fake? That would imply that 9000 reviews were “faked”. I doubt that even the biggest publisher could get anything near that number of willing accomplices. I fear that “FakeSpot” is a spotty fake, itself.

  8. “fakespot.com makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information”

  9. Their criteria doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a “fake review” either. I ran one of my books and came up 31% out of 60! Comment “✓ Reviews products without purchasing them” should not constitute fake. I often write reviews on Amazon of products that I purchase elsewhere. For example, I found a book on AbeBooks for $6 and on Amazon it sold for $43. There were no other used copies around on Amazon. Still, I wrote a review so people would know the content even if they could get a better price elsewhere. So I guess I’m a fake.

  10. The comments posted here echo those on the article. It seems like a good idea, but I’m skeptical as to whether it’s even possible to do this. After all, KDP hasn’t figured it out yet, and they know every possible detail about every review. And when it comes to “low quality” reviews, that’s pretty subjective.

    At the end of my books, I encourage readers to post a review and I tell them that just a few quick sentences is fine. It sounds like most of these would get flagged as “low quality,” but I’m grateful for every one. It’s not easy to type an in-depth exposition on a cell phone or Kindle.

  11. Scoff if you like, but it caught the literary grifter Melville red-handed. His sock-puppet army propped up Moby Dick and its 4.1-star average with nearly 1,200 reviews, 42.1% of them crap. Likewise that hack Rowling, whose failed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone achieved its 4.8-star rating only with the help of 11,471 reviews—36.7% of which were written by zombies, wraiths, and bots.

    I’ll never look at anything by either of those charlatans again.

    • Ah, reading the comments here, it looks like it averages claiming 40% or so are fake. For ones you ‘know’ were written by ‘zombies, phantoms, and bots’ wouldn’t you expect it to be a bit higher?

      (I’m assuming here that you have some kind of proof of those zombies, phantoms, and bots, as others are sure their’s weren’t fake and still had the same 40% as these two — which suggests it makes it up as it goes along.)


      What’s the difference between a computer salesman and a used car salesman? A used car salesman normally knows when he’s lying.

      • Clearly, those two wouldn’t have careers without their fraudulent ways. Fakespot has spoken.

        • I’ll try again …

          How good can a program be if it rates things ‘known’ to be good exactly the same as it rates things ‘known’ to be bad?

          Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

          And considering how much Amazon would ‘love’ to be able to pitch all the fake reviews on their site, I’m having trouble believing this program is any better than the old Elisa program on my TRS-80 model I …

          “But earlier you said you didn’t trust trusted reviews?”

  12. The classic Hutzler 571 banana slicer listing on Amazon with 5400 tongue-in-cheek reviews gets 23.3% for 5 reviews (wheredid the other +5300 go?),
    while the two-pack version of same, also with 140 tongue-in-cheek reviews,
    gets 13.3 % for 134 reviews.

    (If you’ve never run across this listing, check it out. If you dare. It’s worth it.)

  13. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,230117.0.html

    Looks like any book you search gets added to their database and tweeted out with the results. Also it recognises any review that wasn’t a verified purchase as fake. If you checked your books they are listed on a searchable database as having a load of fake reviews… oh and had that tweeted too.

  14. Just FYI, they tweet any product run through their site, so if you check your book with them, they will tweet the results.

  15. Thanks Richard08 and Romance Author for the warnings. I was just about to check my books. With so few reviews something like this could hurt!

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