From 'bombs' to bots: What is being done about fake and misleading beauty reviews?

Published: 13-Jul-2020

For the average cosmetics and personal care consumer, spotting a fake or intentionally misleading review is not as easy as one might think. And sophisticated fake reviews are making the process even murkier

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Beauty brands and retailers are increasingly going to great lengths to provide their shoppers with engaging and fulfilling routes to purchase.

From social content to personalised marketing and enhanced website features, buying cosmetics and personal care products in the digital world is not only designed to be convenient, but also memorable and, importantly, fun.

Suspecting foul play is usually at the bottom of a consumer’s list as they trawl search engines, user-generated comments or review sites to find their ideal product purchase.

And yet, 47% of US and 37% of UK consumers and have been duped into buying a health or beauty product on the basis of an inaccurate or fake review, according to review website Trustpilot.

In the UK, that equates to the average shopper wasting £19.70 in the past year alone.

The source of fake reviews

While bots are the source of some fake beauty product reviews, other times humans are to blame, as Zach Pardes, Trustpilot’s Director of Advertising & Communications, North America, told Cosmetics Business.

“Fake reviews are generated in a variety of ways,” he said.

“There are bot-based fakes, where programmes are written to generate fake text and post it to review platforms.

“There is also human-based manipulation, and in fact individuals and small

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