How We Fight Fraud

8:11 a.m. on October 30, 2013 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "How We Fight Fraud"

We value honesty at Trailspace. But, while people increasingly turn to online consumer reviews, by next year one in 10 Internet reviews could be a fake. Here's what we do to prevent fraud on Trailspace.

Full article at

11:08 a.m. on October 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Happy to hear it, Alicia! Not that I assumed y'all weren't already minding the shop, but it's work like the aforementioned that maintains the high level of credibility Trailspace reviewers have. That said, much appreciate the work y'all do!

10:00 p.m. on October 30, 2013 (EDT)
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What's the world coming to when you need to waste the time to deal with this kind of thing?  Thank you for your vigilance in keeping your credibility up above the rest.  I don't review a lot of stuff, but I do it with pride here at Trailspace.  My review of Trailspace if I could review Trailspace for Trailspace would be one word- "Rockin'!!!"  Thanks for all you do!!!

11:24 p.m. on October 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Great piece on an ongoing issue. I'm the chief janitor for innate, we provide our travel essentials to a wide range of folks for testing and on adventures in keeping with our design philosophy of leaner cleaner greener. When we get asked "what do you want in exchange", we tell them, "use it! Tell us what you think and if you like our gear, recommend it to family and friends; if you are inclined, write a review on sites like Trailspace" At no time do we preview or provide any influence on direction nor text for reviewers. In august 2013 i reached out to the trailspace team and asked their advice to ensure our practices were aligned with their internal policies. The trailspace team noted that any reviews for gear that was not paid for need to be identified as such. We fully support and agree with this level of transparency. Now if we could just do something about how products are indexed on trailspace :) Keep up the great work and thanks for letting us be part of your community.

7:06 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for the comments.

I agree it is unfortunate that this is an issue that needs to be dealt with, but it's necessary to face it head on.

I think it's also good to remember that more people and companies behave responsibly than not. After all, it's in your best long-term interest to be credible and build up a real, worthwhile reputation (at least in my opinion). Let's hope that the added attention on the issue and the values of honesty and transparency can push back in the right direction.

FYI, for anyone wondering, we have profile badges for the following:

  • Retailers
  • Brand Reps
  • Non-profits
  • Guides/Outfitters

You can see the Brand Rep one on Greg's profile above. Just let us know if you should have one.


9:02 a.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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This is a great site. Thanks to your diligence I have a high confidence rate that what I read here is true.


6:02 p.m. on October 31, 2013 (EDT)
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I'll say that as a consumer, it's not that hard to spot fake reviews and it's possible to use reviews in a way where fraud has little effect.  First I look to the text, and don't put too much weight on the number of stars (although I do like to read really low rated reviews to see what got the person so upset.)   In the text I like to see what the person liked and didn't like.  Sometimes the thing they didn't like isn't something that matters to me.  Sometimes it is something that matters to me a lot that I hadn't even thought of.  For example, I have short arms so a review that indicates a sweater's arms run short is very positive to me.  

But anyway, fake reviews are easy to spot.  Most people are not too articulate and don't write that well.  Even when they do, real people don't write like marketers.  Most real reviews, even when they are positive, find something they don't like.  The fake reviewers will leave that out.  The fake reviewers never poke fun at the product - that would piss off the sponsors who don't have sense of humor when it comes to their product (the ones that do have a sense of humor aren't the ones that feel a need to pimp their products.)  I think a lot of fake reviewers have proofreaders, too, so nothing is out of place - you will see that I am missing some commas because I don't care that much.

My wife and I have a game we invented on road trips.  As we pass motels, we guess whether the reviews are good or not.  Then while I drive, my wife pulls them up and reads them out loud to see who is right.  The second part of the game, is where we guess which reviews are fake.  I remember one motel we passed where there were a lot of reviews that were lukewarm at best (most talked about the noise from the highway, but that it was cheap, in the right place and somewhat clean) except for two positive reviews.  One was from a truck driver whose review mostly centered around how friendly the blond housekeeper was - I guess he got some.  The other one was so obviously fake, using comments like exceptional and best night sleep ever.

10:03 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Related to this topic, you might find interesting the following pieces about Amazon's Vine review program from NPR's Planet Money:

10:52 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks, Alicia (and all the staff on Trailspace). As I stated before, keep up the good work!

11:04 a.m. on November 1, 2013 (EDT)
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You're welcome, North1.

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