The extremely high error rates reported by Keegan et al. in 'A platform-independent method for detecting errors in metagenomic sequencing data: DRISEE' (PLoS Comput Biol 2012; 8: :e1002541) for many next-generation sequencing datasets prompted us to re-examine their results. Our analysis reveals that the presence of conserved artificial sequences, e.g. Illumina adapters, and other naturally occurring sequence motifs accounts for most of the reported errors. We conclude that DRISEE reports inflated levels of sequencing error, particularly for Illumina data. Tools offered for evaluating large datasets need scrupulous review before they are implemented.