A new word for me "Astroturfing"!
While looking at fireplaces online, I noticed that the reviews on both the Argos and Homebase sites were the same, word for word.
Mr Plummy Mummy who is a techie, explained this is called Astroturfing. It's where an organisation is created specifically to represent something and make it more popular. In California, they are are trying to outlaw this.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not naiive, I knew this happened.I've come across rather enthusiastic reviews on Argos before that smack of a corporate drone sitting there ensuring the common customer doesn't besmirch the good name of their company's products. And in China, internet spin doctors are used to shape bad news into good.
Leaves me with a bit of a dilemma as I like online shopping but don't know how to ensure reviews are genuine. Does astroturfing happen on Amazon? Or Play?
If you come across something suspicious, email the companies (i.e. Argos/Homebase) to inform them. Also the law is on your side in the form of the The EU's Directive on Unfair Business-to-Consumer Commercial Practices.
Or just take the reviews with a pinch of salt.