Amazon deletes 20,00 fake online reviews after users profit from five-star ratings. An investigation from the Financial Times alleged that many users were profiting from posting thousands of five star reviews. One reviewer posted a five-star review on average once every four hours. They reviewed over £15,000 worth of products.
Products manufactured by small Chinese brands has many of these reviews to help boost sales. Reviewers would then go on and sell them on eBay. It appears that one reviewer made nearly £20,000 since June. Selling items including vacuum cleaners, laptops, dolls houses and selfie lights.
When contacted by the Financial Times, one reviewer denied posting paid-for reviews. They then deleted their review history from their Amazon page.
Can you trust online reviews?
Items posted were described as “unused” and “unopened” on the reviewer’s eBay page. These were apparently duplicates, they claimed.
In the descriptions for the products on eBay, the reviewer described an electric scooter. This was the same brand that they had reviewed on Amazon – as “hands down my favourite toy”. they went on to claim, they “purchased a second one for my fiancée”.
Two of the ten other top-ranked Amazon reviewers also deleted their history. Another removed their name and reviews, changing their profile picture to an image which read “please go away”.
The Financial Times suggests that nine of the UK’s ten reviewers were engaged in “suspicious behaviour”. “We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant,” Amazon said. It added that it would suspend, ban, and sue people who violate its policies.
Amazon’s community guidelines state that reviewers cannot post content in exchange for compensation of any kind. This includes free or discounted products or on behalf of anyone else.
Amazon’s murky world of fake online one-star reviews
Amazon’s marketplace is being abused by independent sellers using fake online one-star reviews to harm rivals, the BBC has been told.
Newsnight spoke to a number of those affected who believe their sales have suffered as a consequence.
A consumer rights champion now wants a UK watchdog to investigate further, as part of a probe into fake reviews that is already under way. Amazon claims to be “relentless” in tackling review manipulation. Even so, some of those targeted believe it cannot eradicate the problem. Third-party vendors have sold more physical goods on Amazon’s site than the US tech giant itself every year since 2015, according to its own figures.
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