If you are like me you probably hate fake reviews. They give you false help when trying to decide between products and can sometimes lead to buying the wrong product. It is even more frustrating when these product reviews stay up despite the fact that they are fake. Finally Amazon is taking action against these reviews with Amazon lawsuits.
Recently Amazon made news for cracking down on fake review websites. The websites targeted by the Amazon legal action in April dealt in selling fake reviews. They were not freelancing or advertising websites. Now Amazon lawsuits are targeting freelancing websites.
When Amazon became aware of Fiverr users selling reviews without using products they decided to take action, in the form of an investigation. During this investigation, Amazon contacted the sellers of fake reviews and even purchased fake reviews to gather evidence.
Amazon found 1,114 people on Fiverr to target with legal action. The tactics used by these sellers varied but not by much. They all had similar tactics just different names, numbers, and amount of services.
One of the tactics used by the sellers was to change computers and accounts so that Amazon would have extreme trouble detecting that the reviews were posted by different users. Some sellers claimed to have more than 100 accounts/IP addresses to submit reviews from.
Because Fiverr does not require users to use their real names, the parties in the Amazon lawsuits are titled as John Doe’s for the time being. Bess98 is an example of these review writers who is cited as an example in the lawsuit.
Amazon Verified Reviews are supposed to be the way to prove to you that a product has in fact been reviewed by a purchaser. Amazon recently discovered that this process was being abused. Merchants were sending empty boxes to buyers so that they could leave fake Amazon Verified Reviews. This is very damaging to the integrity of Amazon’s review service.
According to Fiverr they have been working closely with Amazon to remove these users. Amazon has been very clear that they are targetting the sellers, not Fiverr itself. This is good news as many authentic writers use Fiverr to supplement their income.
All of this comes on the heels of other companies taking action against fake reviews. TripAdvisory recently took action against a selection of fake review websites. These Amazon lawsuits, combined with those from other websites, may be leading us to a more trustworthy online world. If all actions are successful than it could set reviewing precedent. It could also just move fake reviews to countries where Amazon has no grounds to sue.
My Reaction to Amazon Lawsuits
As a frequent user of Amazon, I rely heavily on customer reviews. It frustrates me greatly when I encounter fake reviews. These have lead to me making bad purchases in the past. Luckily Amazon has an extremely good return policy.
As a Fiverr writer, I support these Amazon lawsuits, with conditions. Despite my profile clearly stating that I don’t write reviews for products that I do not have and cannot use I get regular requests to write reviews. The buyer requests page (as of today) still lists multiple requests for Amazon reviews. There are also still pages of sellers offering Amazon reviews.
On the other hand, I will only support the Amazon legal actions if they stay focused on sellers. Taking legal action against Fiverr can put a lot of people out of business. It would also hurt the startups that use Fiverr to get up and running. For example, I used a Fiverr seller to get my logo.
I am looking forward to seeing the results of these Amazon lawsuits. It would be great to finally see reviews become more controlled on Amazon. Fiverr isn’t the only place I have seen requests for reviews though. Craigslist and other listing websites contain plenty of people looking for fake reviews.