Amazon is legally serious about ending fake reviews

Discussion
Oct 20, 2015
George Anderson

If at first you don’t succeed, sue, sue again. A little over six months after following suit against a group of companies it accused of posting false positive reviews on it site, Amazon is again taking legal action to try and put an end to the practice.

According to reports, the e-tail giant has filed a suit against more than 1,100 individuals for writing, what it alleges to be fake reviews. Amazon said the people doing this advertised their services on Fiverr.com, a site where freelancers can be found to handle tasks for as little as $5.

Amazon said it was able to uncover people writing false reviews after communicating with them on Fiverr. The individuals promised five-star ratings and even to allow the client to write the review to be posted.

Fiverr was not included in the suit and was reported to be working with Amazon to address the issue.

"We continue to use a number of mechanisms to detect and remove the small fraction of reviews that violate our guidelines," Julie Law, a spokesperson for Amazon told Bloomberg. "We are currently taking legal action against a number of individuals including many that are referred to here."

Amazon customer reviews

What does the publicity around Amazon suing people for posting fake reviews do for its online business and those of sellers on its marketplace? Do you think Amazon’s actions are helping to reduce the number of people engaged in writing false reviews?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The problem of paid-for postings goes well beyond product reviews. I believe some retailers/brand managers hire "trolls" to post comments on pieces that are either flattering to their competitors or unflattering to them."
"The publicity may be more important than the suit itself. Amazon is doing what it can to shame paid reviewers and those who employ them by injecting them with a bit of worry that they might be caught and penalized."
"It’s a start. Consumers should get savvier about reading phony reviews, which would also help a lot."

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13 Comments on "Amazon is legally serious about ending fake reviews"


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Paula Rosenblum
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

The problem of paid-for postings goes well beyond product reviews. I believe some retailers/brand managers hire “trolls” to post comments on pieces that are either flattering to their competitors or unflattering to them.

Once you’ve read a bunch of these, you start to get a feel for the ones that were bought and paid for vs. the ones written by “true believers” (dare to write something less than glowing about Apple and you’ll see what a true believer looks like) vs. actual commentary.

I think we all have to take a look in the mirror here. A cottage industry has grown up, and it’s not going away until the industry takes some kind of stand, not just one retailer.

Max Goldberg
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Good for Amazon. They will not be able to root out all false reviews, but they can take steps that bolster the credibility of their site. With consumers increasingly placing their faith in reviews, this was a necessary step.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

The numbers of fake reviews are not likely to go down but the companies and writers of them are likely to get better at it. This will make finding them even harder. I agree with Paula this is not a single seller issue.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Someone has to be riding the lead horse. Someone has to be taking the issue to a point where we say “I’m mad as hell, etc.” Just like Staples and GameStop (I think) said no to opening on Thanksgiving, there has to be someone saying no to negative influencers. Opening early or at all on Thanksgiving is a desperate attempt to get another dollar. Just as this is a desperate attempt to bring negativity to Amazon. Compete evenly and not from stabs in the back by people paid to do it. Go get them Amazon.

Gary Doyle
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

From my perspective it will have little or no impact. Those who participate in the false/fake review efforts will simply find ways to go further underground. I agree with Paula that this is an industry-wide issue.

Jack Pansegrau
Guest
Jack Pansegrau
4 years 1 month ago

Like many, I frequently go first to Amazon for a look at their reviews — whether I purchase at Amazon or not. So Amazon is correct — it is important to their brand to maintain our trust in the review process. Amazon will likely be successful in reducing but not eliminating false reviews, but it’s still worth their effort.

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
4 years 1 month ago

I don’t think the publicity affects Amazon much one way or the other. But I do think it further escalates the mistrust buyers increasingly have about the veracity of and reliance on, online reviews in general.

James Tenser
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

The publicity may be more important than the suit itself. Amazon is doing what it can to shame paid reviewers and those who employ them by injecting them with a bit of worry that they might be caught and penalized. It also puts its shoppers on alert to ignore the “outliers”—any reviews that seem too rosy or too critical to be real. The more controversial and heated this action becomes, the more effective it’s likely to be. Shrewd move by Amazon.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

It’s a start. Consumers should get savvier about reading phony reviews, which would also help a lot.

Kai Clarke
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

This is a great action by Amazon, and needs to be followed up by other online reviewer sites like eBay, Jet, Yelp, etc. Fake reviews are a serious issue, and Amazon should be doing everything it can to protect itself, its reputation and those of their Marketplace partners. When will everyone else follow suit?

Kenneth Leung
Guest
4 years 1 month ago

Amazon needs to do something because review is part of the customer experience. In this case they can’t really stop people posting fake reviews, but at least they can slow down those looking to profit from posting fake reviews. Improved quality of the reviews help make the shopping experience better for their customers.

David Potts
Guest
David Potts
4 years 1 month ago

The legal action should have some impact (i.e., cost, difficulty, risk) on the people engaged in writing false reviews and is a good move for legit retailers. Doubt the press will have any impact on consumers using Amazon.

Does Amazon still only allow reviews of other merchants’ order performance on Amazon? In the past, you could not review Amazon itself on its order performance, you could only review merchants performance.

Jonathan Hinz
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

The publicity surrounding Amazon’s most recent lawsuit will likely help improve awareness among both consumers and retailers about the issues related to fake reviews. It won’t hurt consumer perception of Amazon, though. We support Amazon’s efforts and think the lawsuit set an important precedent. When it comes to reducing the number of fake reviews, the increased scrutiny may urge more caution from freelance reviewers and the companies that use or are considering using their services. Reviews have become a staple of the consumer purchasing journey, and there will of course always be people trying to exploit this fact. However, we hope that we can come together as an industry to combat these kinds of attempts to undermine the trustworthiness of reviews.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The problem of paid-for postings goes well beyond product reviews. I believe some retailers/brand managers hire "trolls" to post comments on pieces that are either flattering to their competitors or unflattering to them."
"The publicity may be more important than the suit itself. Amazon is doing what it can to shame paid reviewers and those who employ them by injecting them with a bit of worry that they might be caught and penalized."
"It’s a start. Consumers should get savvier about reading phony reviews, which would also help a lot."

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