Amazon sues over 1000 fake reviewers
Online retail giant Amazon had filed a lawsuit against 1,114 defendants who offer a false review service for a small amount of $5 on the website Fiverr.com. Amazon said that though the reviews are small in number, they can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and sellers place in Amazon. The company had observed during an investigation that fake reviewers hid their identity.
Amazon is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company based in Seattle, Washington. It was founded on 5 July 1994 by Jeff Bezos, an American entrepreneur and investor. Amazon.com started as an online bookstore, later diversifying to sell video games, electronics, etc. Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization in 2015.
Amazon has a customer base of more than 30 million people. It reported a revenue of US$ 88.988 billion in 2014.
Amazon had sued four sites that pay people to write fake reviews. Buyazonreviews.com, buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net and buyreviewsnow.com were the 4 sites that were sued. The retail giant accused the the sites of trademark infringement and violations of local consumer protection statutes. Amazon said it had verified its allegations by privately paying one of the services to write reports about products.
Anyone, whether they are a customer or not, has the ability to review products sold on Amazon's online store; however, the rules of the site forbid paid-for or fictional reviews.
Amazon began cracking down fake reviewers using a high-tech tool; they started to weed out phony reviews and made sure that customers were not cheated. The company said they were using a software to lower the rank of reviews that don't match purchase history and that are voted down by readers. Sharp customers had noticed that Amazon is full of fishy reviews.
Bogus reviewers identified themselves as British girls to write fake reviews either to boost sales or sabotage businesses with negative reviews. Books on Amazon were being pushed to top of bestseller lists by fake reviews. Fake reviews prompted a fear that consumers were misled by reviews of everything from electronics to home appliances. Amazon said they were trying to close down fake reviewer accounts.
The rogue authors contact third parties who download their low-quality ebooks in order to gain Amazon's "verified purchase" quality stamp. These reviewers then leave misleading five-star rating and remarks, bumping the books to the top of the charts.
Fiverr is an online marketplace primarily used by freelancers to offer services to customers all over the world. It costs a customer between $5 and $500 for these services.