How to validate the validity of reviews?


Quick question for you guys -
An offer plopped into my mailbox yesterday from the FPA. It was the discount for the Elite Range Bar system from Samurai Forex Trading. I had my eye on this for a bit, but took no action until I saw the discount offered to FPA members.
Seriously considering the discount offer, I started digging around and found that it was rated very highly by our own FPA, BUT the first "review" at FPA was generated by the [quote from the FPA review board] "same location that SamuraiForexTrading wrote in from to request being added to the reviews".[end quote] I then went elsewhere, searching for "Elite Range Bar Reviews Samurai" and found that quite a few people actually had problems with the Elite Range Bar system.
It's easy to think that this is simply an application of the Law Of Customer Service, where only the folks who have problems voice up and complain, and perhaps the Elite Range Bar system has hundreds or thousands of satisfied, profitable (and, thus quietly content) customers. I did see very few good reviews on other sites, but people are more likely to chime in when they're not happy.
Back to FPA, though, the balance of the reviews are apparently legit, and very positive, but doubt has now been cast. How can we know, after they got tapped for an allegedly fake review in August, that the guys at Samurai just didn't get a bunch of their friends in various locales to write good reviews at FPA? Further, this concern could easily spill over to other reviews at FPA as a whole. I mean, you ask your friends around the world to write something good about you - that will get around the location-based reason why the first review result was revoked, correct?

I'm not trying to throw mud at the FPA at all, but I am a solid, hard skeptic by nature...believe me, the guys in my day job hate making engineering claims to my team because our job is to deconstruct those claims. That process is playing out here, so please - no hate mail about me being a stick in the mud to FPA, OK?
I simply see something that can potentially adulterate and taint the review boards. How can FPA filter legit reviews from dodgy attempts at skewing the system? Does FPA have any mechanism in place to prevent this kind of review manipulation? How can FPA validate the validity, as it were, of reviews?

- John

Samurai Forex Trading | reviews and ratings by Forex Peace Army


FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
Hello John,

Most companies that get nailed once are bright enough not to do it again.

Yes, some fake reviews can get through. Yes, some legitimate reviews get filtered out. The system the FPA uses is the best one out there. Since I took over the reviews in 2008, it has undergone many major improvements that make spotting the fakes easier.

I've never posted the full procedure for review moderation. I don't intend to. If I publicly tell all the methods the FPA uses for screening reviews, it would be a roadmap for people wanting to leave fake reviews.

Leaving fake positive reviews is like embezzling money. Once a company gets away with it the first time, the temptation to keep doing it usually overwhelms common sense. Sooner or later, a mistake is made.

One thing everyone should note. Even if a bad company managed to somehow slip in dozens of fake 4 and 5 star reviews, there's nothing they could do to keep unhappy clients from leaving 1 and 2 star reviews. As you already mentioned, unhappy clients are more likely to leave reviews than happy clients.

If you think a string of 5 star reviews looks like a company trying to get new clients through fake reviews, just wait a few months. If the good ones keep coming month after month and no bad ones ever show up, you might be looking at a company with good products or services.

A good company won't leave fake reviews. If they are smart, they can gently encourage happy clients to leave reviews. Previously, some companies paid real clients for reviews. Supposedly they asked clients for honest reviews, not just good reviews. The US Federal Trade Commission has cracked down on this procedure. If I catch a company offering compensation for good reviews, their review page will not be pretty. As of now, if I catch a company offering compensation for honest reviews without informing the clients that they MUST state that they were compensated, any review I suspect of being one of those will be removed and a warning will be placed on the company's review page.


Thanks for the reply. I seriously appreciate it.

I fully agree to you not publishing the review moderation process. I would do the same thing. Well played, sir.

I'll keep my eye out as well. Carry on, lieutenant.

- John