5-star phonies: Inside the fake Amazon review complex

The Hustle:

At a time when faith in our government, media, and even the very foundations of American democracy are at an all-time low, 65% of us trust online reviews.

Some 82% of American adults check product reviews before making a purchase — but the way we evaluate these reviews and determine the trustworthiness of a product is alarmingly simplistic: Research shows that we’re more swayed by a simple star rating than what reviewers actually write.

With e-commerce, we can’t see products in person before we buy them. Our leading indicator of quality — and our guiding light of trust — are the stars.

I only trust reviews from people I know. I don’t know anyone on Amazon.