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Amazon sues over one thousand individual reviewers

Amazon has been allowing users to post reviews of its third-party sellers for twenty years. Now, it seems they’ve been exposed to fraudulent reviewers.



A good review is easy to find

Amazon has been allowing users to post reviews of its third-party sellers for twenty years. For the most part, these reviews come from real customers with genuine feedback about the products they purchased or the customer service they received from sellers.

However, a market for fraudulent reviews has cropped up in recent years. Sellers looking to improve their ratings and attract customers can hire Amazon users to post false reviews. Sometimes writers hire themselves out to write fake reviews. Other times, the seller writes the review, then pays the Amazon user to post it from their account.

Good talk is cheap

These fictional reviews can be used to create a positive online reputation for a seller or business for surprisingly low prices. American Genius recently covered the story of Kashmir Hill, who started a fake karaoke company just to find out how easy it would be to buy such an online reputation. It turned out to be shockingly cheap to purchase fraudulent reviews on several websites, including Amazon.

Although Amazon does its best to root out inauthentic reviews, the company has decided that they can’t keep up, and is taking legal action. Earlier this year, Amazon sued four websites who were selling fake reviews. Now, for the first time, Amazon is suing over 1,000 individuals for providing false reviews to third party sellers.

Amazon goes undercover

The suit is targeting reviewers who have offered their services through the website Fiverr. Amazon identified the defendants by having an investigator attempt to purchase fake reviews. The investigators found that reviewers were not only providing false reviews, but that that sellers were sharing strategies for getting their reviews past Amazon’s censors. For example, some sellers shipped empty boxes to reviewers so that it would seem as though the reviewer actually purchased the product.

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Although beefing up a seller page with phony reviews may be good for sellers and small businesses, this practice is ultimately misleading to customers, who rely on reviews to provide honest information about products and services.


Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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