Fake review – How to write a good one or get a great real review

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A fake review should be done well. And by that, I mean believable. Most of them aren’t.

Writing fake reviews pretty much began with restaurants. But now, it’s getting to be very popular in almost every type of business from insurance to beauty parlors to cars.

Unfortunately, restaurants often write glowing reviews that no restaurant could possibly match. The review makes the chef sound like God, the restaurant is perfect for everyone whether they have kids, are looking for a romantic evening, or are having the boss out to lunch. The decor is perfect for everyone. Even the paper napkins feel like real linen.

When people come to the restaurant based on this spectacular review and then experience the reality, even if your restaurant is good or even great, it will not meet up with the expectations created by your fake reviews.

Guaranteed, those disappointed people will never come back. What’s more, you’ve shot yourself in the foot in more ways because they will tell their friends not to visit your restaurant and they may even go back to the review site where they read your fake review and write a scathing one.

Let’s discuss the reality of writing a good fake review

And remember, regardless of your business, there are review sites for just about anything and everything these days. Writing fake reviews is a great option for almost any business if done right.

Here’s a review I found for an office chair – this is what a great review really looks like:

Affordable and Comfortable
Pros: comfortable, good back support, affordable
Cons: no arm rest

“In the past few months, I’ve been shopping around for an affordable (under $150) but comfortable task chair with solid back-support. I’ve finally found one! The chair is solidly built. Synchro-tilt is subtle but very comfortable. When sitting up straight, it supports my lower back very well which I really need. Btw-the chair is not small. I am 6 ft. tall and it’s perfect for me but it’s too big for my wife who’s 5’4”.”

Why is this a great review?

Because it sounds honest. It gives Pros AND Cons. It talks about what the person liked about the chair but it also mentioned that this chair isn’t going to work for a small person.

So why is that good? Because no product is perfect. Another thing about it I like is that it’s not all perfect English. People use shortcuts when they write on the Internet. Notice “btw.” A misspelling or two might have been good. And lastly, it got personal and first person. “it’s perfect for me but it’s too big for my wife.”

Too often, I have clients who only want wonderful, glowing copy written about their product or service to make it sound like the do-all-be-all perfect solution for every situation.

Again, this is a recipe for failure.

First, anything that sounds too good to be true is too good to be true and people will ignore your glowing information. Second, by being honest about who or what situations it isn’t right for, you’ve let people who wouldn’t be satisfied with the product anyway, know that they don’t have to bother wasting your time. Trying to sell something to the people who aren’t going to be happy with it anyway is a waste of timeenergy and resources. And it sets these people up tospread negativity about you all over town.

Additionally, your review smacks of honesty instead of the BS that Americans have learned to completely distrust. Rather than a potential customer coming in with their guard up, they feel more trusting because it sounds like you’re actually being honest instead of the crooks most people think business owners are. (Don’t shoot the messenger. You know I’m right)

How to get lots of great reviews.

I have a client who owns a business selling sports injury equipment and bandages. He got tired of trying to get reviews or typing up his own fake ones. So he went to a site where he can buy positive reviews. It was a godsend. The most he pays for a review is $20 and he gets a glowing review of one of his products on a PageRank 3 blog. About once a week he goes and buys another review. These positive reviews are now his biggest traffic generator.


About the Author:

Bob McClain or WordsmithBob, is a retired website copywriter in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. He has focused on developing new, more effective approaches to web writing, web content, web copywriting and Search Engine Optimization. Starting with a BA in Technical Communication and a minor in Creative Writing from Metro State University in St. Paul, McClain has worked diligently to end the use of "corp-speak" and "technospeak" online. His approach is to “humanize” the Web, using real information to guide people to buy rather than turning websites into advertisements that people can easily ignore.
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  1. Phyllis Zimbler Miller  March 14, 2010

    Bob —

    I’m curious as to why you use the expression “fake review”? To me the above examples are product or service copy. The only actual review would be a comment attributed to a specific person.

    And as I extremely dislike seeing misspellings in any copy, I’m uncomfortable with the advice to have misspellings (in the era of spellcheck, etc.) in a review to make it seem more “real.”


  2. WordsmithBob  March 14, 2010

    Hi Phyllis!

    By “fake review,” I’m referring to the review websites where people can leave a short little review or comment about a business or a product or a restaurant. Places like CitySearch is a perfect example. People can do the same thing on Amazon. Restaurants often go to these sites and put in phony reviews or comments to try and entice people to go to their restaurant.

    On these sites, they rarely have a spellcheck for the comment box. And if you look at the postings ordinary people put in these comment boxes or review boxes, they rarely get through 2 or 3 sentences without any mispellings. In fact, one of the dead giveaways of a fake review or comment is that everything is spelled perfect and it’s written in school-style English rather than the way people really speak (which is how they usually write these comment-style reviews).

    Also, in real reviews people often use the types of shortcuts that have developed as part of “online language.” Things like BTW or LOL.

  3. Phyllis Zimbler Miller  March 14, 2010

    Thanks for the explanation. When I write a book review on Amazon, for example, I consider this a real review. But I understand the distinction you are making.

  4. armswideopen  June 7, 2010

    Some of the funniest restaurant fake reviews i’ve seen are on UrbanSpoon Columbus, Oh for Mia Cucina restaurant.. They are really funny- especially since the owner was exposed on this site for writing fakes. They tried to get creative after that, but wow, they are funny!
    Here is one:
    The Next Big Thing” by porter8192
    September 19, 2009 – Likes it – I think for so many years people keep asking for non-corporate restaurants and this is a great example of three young men trying to create that for people. They are obviously very experienced, took the best staff possible, established a cost efficeint-yummy menu and poored their hearts into “the American dream” and guess what it is paying off….so try it!!! let your tastes buds, and heart decide–and remember you could be witnessing the next big thing–


    Want a great atmosphere with fine dining without all the fuss, where the only thing that out does the execellent entree’s and appetizers is the service………come joint your friends and neightbors at Mia Cucina’s. The general manager and staff are there to make sure that each experience is better than your last. By the way if you don’t see it on the menu, just ask and maybe they will be able to accommadate you. P.S. call ahead and make a reservation……the word is getting around how nice this corner of New Albany can be. See you there!

    Just makes me LOL!

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