Do you trust product reviews? I bet when you shop for a product – be it a household item, or an app for your mobile device – first thing you do is check out product ratings and reviews. But can you really trust them?

You may be aware that September 2013 is now the milestone as the most serious crackdown on fake reviews in the Internet, to date [Give Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You]. I am sure there will be more. At that time, agreements have been reached with 19 companies to cease their misleading practices and pay a total of $350,000 in penalties.

So, here is the scoop on the latest exposé : BlackBerry’s BBM app was downloaded 10 million times just in the span of 24 hours – in itself, a huge number that speaks for itself. When it comes to the positive reviews of the app, you may want to pause when you read positive reviews.

A significant number of reviews contained the exact same praise for BBM: “Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth” – identical postings is a dead givaway of a fake.

So, can you trust online reviews? To be honest, I still do. I often ask for an opinion of those people I actually know, who use the product I am interested in.   And of course, nothing beats trying it for yourself. In Russia, there is a saying: “Доверяй, но проверяй” that can be loosely translated as  “Trust first, but try it anyway.”