The internet has given us a wonderful resource. In less than 10 seconds, you can read dozens, if not hundreds, of online reviews on everything from a pair of tennis shoes you’re considering buying to the burger joint down the street.
But the world wide web can also be gamed and manipulated, which means that you, the consumer, might not be getting the unbiased information you think you are.
And that’s true whether you’re buying shoes, eating burgers, or renting a storage unit.
Luckily, there are a few giveaways that can help you tell the difference between real and fake online reviews.
How to Spot Fake Online Reviews
The first thing you’ll want to do is trust your gut. You know when someone is selling you a bill of goods in person—and you can sense it in online reviews, too. As they say, if it smells like a rat, then it probably is a rat.
Here are a few tips to help you fine-tune your sense of smell.
Tips to Spot Fake Online Reviews
• Does the review repeatedly mention the name of the product or business? That’s not the way the average consumer writes. Beware of reviews that tell you that Frank’s Fantastic Burgers are the best in town because Frank’s Fantastic Burgers are grilled over an open flame.
• Along those same lines, be aware that most real reviews don’t refer to the full and complete name of a product of business. Be wary, as well, of reviews that use specific capitalization or punctuation, such as “The cones at Twistee-FREEEEZE were delicious.” The average consumer just wouldn’t make the effort of getting all of those details right, even if the ice cream is delicious.
• Beware of extreme language. Anything that is the absolute best or absolute worst someone has ever seen is suspect. You’re more likely to get honest advice from the middle ground, which is why some skeptics automatically disregard anything rated either 1 or 5 stars.
• Give more credibility to very specific reviews. If someone says a particular self storage facility was simply “awesome,” you really can’t learn much from that. But if someone says that a storage facility was “covered in dirt,” that’s something you can check out for yourself before renting from a facility.
• Keep an eye out for reviews that sound suspiciously similar. If they sound like they were written by the same person, they probably were.
• Also keep an eye out for a glut of reviews written in a very short period of time, which is another tell-tale sign that a concerted effort is underway to post illegitimate reviews.
• Ask the experts. Fakespot.com rates reviews based on a number of different factors, letting you know if a particular review is likely real or not.
No matter what you do or don’t read online, remember that no review should ever be the number one factor in your decision. Instead, take everything you read as a suggestion—and then continue to do your homework.
In the case of storage units, you can go and take a look at the facility yourself—and ask questions. You’ll want to ask about pricing, of course, but also how clean and well-lit a facility is. If you need extra protection, ask if climate controlled storage is available. Finally, be sure to inquire about security measures that are taken.
At StorageMart, we pride ourselves on our honest and friendly customer service and, while we welcome you to read all the reviews you can, we also welcome you to come in and see the way we do business for yourself. Our units, which are available as small as a closet or as big as a garage, are always clean and well lit. Have questions? Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.