Fake reviews on Amazon exposed in new report
The practice of fake reviews on Amazon has been a long-standing issue, and one which the company has put significant resources into trying to stop. Back in September 2020 we wrote an article explaining why Amazon must do more to tackle fraudulent 5 star reviews.
But a new report issued by leading consumer champions Which? has revealed the extent of the thriving industry of buying and selling fake reviews on Amazon.
The report (which can be read in full at https://www.which.co.uk/news/2021/02/how-a-thriving-fake-review-industry-is-gaming-amazon-marketplace/) exposed a series of practices by specialised companies that violate Amazon’s terms and conditions of use.
After signing up to 10 sites offering review manipulation services, Which? found:
* 702,000 product reviewers across just five businesses
* One site claiming to have processed $8.9m of refunds for reviews it had organised on Amazon
* Review campaigns claiming to be able to achieve ‘Amazon’s Choice’ status on products in just 10-14 days
* One site selling contact and social media details for Amazon reviewers
One company based in Germany, AMZTigers, boasts of a 62,000 army of reviewers globally, including 20,000 that are based in the UK. AMZTigers sells reviews individually for around £13, or in bulk packages starting at £620 for 50 reviews going up to £8,000 for 1,000 reviews.
The Which? report offers a telling insight into just how big a business fake reviews still is despite Amazon’s efforts in recent years - and how much more needs to be done according to Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey.
He said: “This is more excellent work by Which?, who have previously carried out a series of reports exposing the problems caused by fake reviews. It’s vital that companies continue to challenge what is an extremely damaging practise that stops consumers getting a fair deal and compromises the integrity of the whole site.
“Within the report, there are also details of free and discounted products being offered in exchange for reviews, another practice that’s strictly against Amazon’s terms and conditions. Other companies allow sellers to target those they know are interested in particular products, and poach them from competitors. If you sign up to their paid-for plans, sellers can access the contact details of existing Amazon reviewers, allowing them to get in touch with them outside the permitted parameters of Amazon’s own encrypted email service.
“All of these are undermining Amazon’s fundamental systems, and the fact they are continuing on such a significant scale should be worrying. Amazon have undoubtedly made moves to combat these practises, but what that has meant is the methods of avoiding detection have become more sophisticated. Amazon needs to get ahead of the game and stamp out these tactics for good.”
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