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Dogan Kirnaz Hi there! I'm a freelance writer specialized in copywriting and storytelling. I'm studying English Language and Literature at Akdeniz University and Public Relations and Advertising at Anadolu University.

Online reviews are much more precious and dangerous today, as we think the positive and negative effects of them on the business world. Today, almost no business person wants to argue the gains of a 5-star review or losses of a 1-star review. That’s because the result of online reviews on the business world is clear enough. Particularly, the value of reviews on third-party review platforms, like Yelp and Glassdoor, is increasing day by day since customers still consider what others think about you. As online reviews being so important, some people seek illegal ways to save or increase their online reputation. Illegal review brushing techniques are some of them.

What is review brushing?

Review brushing is a fake purchasing process made to get a fake 5-star review, which is usually a product shipped from the seller to the seller. It is a technique that Amazon vendors usually use to get verified sales. The product can be free-charge, or the seller can pay the price of the product to a buyer in different ways, which we call hiring a buyer. No matter what the solution is, the goal is somehow to have control over the reviews.

87% of customers say that a 5-star review has a positive effect on their purchase, according to a recent study. It isn’t new news for sellers, and therefore many sellers seek illegal ways to get much more positive reviews. Besides, these illegal attempts of sellers bring us a new problem. The trust problem. Customers aren’t paying attention to product reviews day after day because they are aware that many of them are fake. Plus, customers aren’t wrong because 15% of online reviews are fake, and this rate is increasing quickly. Moreover, it seems that product reviews will have no meaning for any customer unless someone stops this trend.

Is review brushing illegal?

Federal Review Commission says that published reviews must be the reliable experience and idea of the reviewer. However, review brushing doesn’t fit this definition. Besides, these reviews are acceptable to Amazon algorithms because what the algorithm scans is a successfully completed purchase. For this reason, it’s in your interest to verify Amazon products from other review sources until Amazon updates its algorithms. Besides being illegal, it is also difficult to detect review brushing, and you can’t do much right now even if you notice it.

What can you do?

As Henry Frederic Amiel says, Philosophy starts with doubt and loves only truth. To find the truth, you must first doubt and always seek help from multiple sources. The online world is full of lies as much as the real one, and the truth is as deep as possible. Make sure you can return a product and read the terms of return carefully before determining to purchase it. And then, be sure to read enough reviews about that product from multiple review platforms. As a customer, it’s always useful to be suspicious unless the sellers give up seeking for illegal ways to make more money.

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