Wednesday, 21 November 2018

To bust a fraud

To bust a fraud
26 Aug

Two innovators from the city have come up with a platform to fight the growing menace of fake online reviews.

Funny Amazon reviews are quite the rage on the internet. Some of the gems have made it to the list of the most hilarious reviews ever written, which are periodically collated and shared by online media companies. But barring such humorous reviews, most star ratings on e-commerce platforms are posted by individuals who are paid either in cash or in kind to write glowing product reviews by online sellers. This fraudulent practice is known as review brushing, or more commonly as fake reviews.

Online review forums, website companies and other e-commerce establishments such as Amazon are trying their best to weed out bogus reviews submitted by paid writers, and in some cases generated by trolls and bots with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data scientists.

Reports state that scientists are developing algorithms to detect fake reviews, but despite all their efforts, the menace of manipulated ratings, which have been proven to influence consumer decision, is only escalating. Krishna Patil, 32, and Sandip Patil, 33, from Pune, however, claim to have found a solution to help buyers make better-informed decisions before they purchase a product.

Launched last year in November, their application, Feedbayk, is a platform whose users can give feedback on the models of cars, bikes and mobiles phones they own to prospective buyers who are looking to purchase those products.

Since its debut, Feedbayk has been downloaded close to 10,000 times, using which car owners and car buyers have interacted more than 7,000 times till date. The user base of the app is growing steadily, too, at the rate of 20 per cent per month. “We are currently focusing on connecting car owners and car buyers because for Indians, buying a vehicle is the next high-value purchase after a house,” says Krishna. They subsequently plan to incorporate the real estate market and high-end devices on the medium. The problem with fake reviews and genuine ones is two-pronged, remarks Krishna. “Even if you read a