You wouldn’t read the reviews for a paper towel holder when you want to buy a rolling pin, would you? This is exactly what can happen if you aren’t careful reading the Amazon customer reviews. Fortunately, there are some tricks you can use to get the most out of buyer reviews on Amazon. In my many years of combing through the reviews, I’ve become incredibly savvy at separating the fake or irrelevant reviews from the real deal. Below, I will help you to recognize Amazon customer reviews you can trust.

Verified Purchasers Are Not Necessarily to Be Trusted

What’s wrong with the picture above? To the untrained eye, you may not notice anything, but I see a lot of red flags. First of all, each of the reviews is roughly the same length (40 to 50 words), which suggests the users were given a word count to hit. Also, all of the reviews were within a few days of each other, and you can’t see this, but the product was first listed on Amazon just three weeks earlier.

Getting good reviews on Amazon is important to the success of one’s product. Therefore, some companies will hire firms with a network of users to write reviews. They send them a check for the item’s purchase cost (plus maybe a little bit more for their trouble), then the user buys it and gets the “Verified Purchase” denotation.

If reviews seem fishy to you, click on the username. If you don’t see many other reviews or there are lots of reviews but few helpful votes, then the person is probably getting paid to write spam reviews. Report them.

Can I See Your Badge?

One sure sign that you are dealing with a trustworthy reviewer is if they have special “badges” to the right of their username. The most trustworthy badges are “Hall of Fame Reviewer,” “Top X Reviewer,” and “Vine Voice.” There are some others, but they are either rare or not very useful. To earn one of the aforementioned badges, users have to not only write a ton of reviews, but they must also consistently get helpful votes on their reviews.

Look for Helpful Votes

Speaking of helpful votes, the reviews with the most helpful votes are usually…the most helpful. So, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy reading reviews by just looking at the ones with the most helpful votes. Unfortunately, Amazon does not make it easy for you to find them. I have no clue what algorithms they use for which reviews to list first, but special badges tend to be at the top and reviews with plenty of helpful votes also seem to be near the top. Be sure to help others by voting a review helpful if it helped in your buying decision or answered questions you had.

Make Sure the Reviews Are for the Right Product

Let’s play our second installment of “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” The red underline should help you. I was looking for a rolling pin, and this product had tons of reviews and a decent rating. Well, it turns out the rolling pin was bringing the rating down. The seller had actually combined a bunch of unrelated items into one product page. This is relatively rare, but it does happen, and you need to keep your eye out for it.

Watch Videos: See for Yourself

Crappy, lo-fi Amazon customer videos don’t lie. If they are made well, you can see exactly how the product looks. And, if the reviewer knows what they are doing, you can get a good idea of how well the item will work for you.

This should help you shop on Amazon with confidence. And, as always, if you have any questions, please comment below.