In an effort to reduce the amount of false praise that appears on its website, the e-retailer has filed lawsuits against three sellers it says have benefitted from fraudulent product reviews. Since the beginning of 2015, the company has filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 people in relation to this issue, taking on both those who offer to sell fake reviews as well as those who buy them.
Amazon is suing two sellers in the U.S. and one in the E.U. The two U.S. lawsuits, obtained by TechCrunch, claim that over 50% of reviews for 11 products sold by Arobo Trade INC/Aumax Direct and four products sold by Cyande Group were fraudulent. By purchasing fake reviews, Amazon says these sellers are boosting their products' ratings, unfairly competing with sellers who operate their businesses honestly and intentionally influencing buyers' decisions.
"Our goal is to eliminate the incentives for sellers to engage in review abuse and shut down this ecosystem around fraudulent reviews in exchange for compensation," Amazon told TechCrunch. "As long as this type of abuse exists, we will continue to take enforcement and legal action against sellers participating in fraudulent reviews."
Amazon has also banned incentivized reviews from its site, which is the practice of writing reviews in exchange for a discounted or free product. While sellers don't necessarily require that a reviewer post something positive about the product, studies have shown that ratings for incentivized reviews tended to be slightly higher than non-incentivized reviews. Additionally, some reviewers would consistently post positive comments to ensure that they would continue to receive products for free.
Amazon maintains that a "vast majority" of reviews on its site are authentic, but considering it's the favorite choice of online shoppers, there's no surprise that the company wants consumers to be able to trust the reviewing process.
Amazon could not immediately be reached for comment.