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The trouble of fake reviews on review platform has always lurked over the landscape of e-commerce. While ratings and reviews are vital for providing more product information, fake reviews raise serious question marks as to the credibility of ecommerce websites. Once that credibility is corroded, the demise of the business is not far. Even giants like Amazon aren’t immune. That’s why the Seattle based ecommerce monarch, is preparing to go all guns blazing against fake reviews on Amazon.
Since the beginning of 2015, Amazon has sued over 1,000 people—but those sued people were reviewers. Now Amazon is thinking to bring the very people that help the company make money on its radar–sellers. The company is in no mood to spare those sellers who are ultimately responsible for the fake reviews on Amazon. The moving away from targeting sites like paidbookreviews.org and toward people on the Amazon platform shows how serious Amazon is about this whole issue.
In this serious heat, Amazon has sued three of its sellers: a Chinese company called CCBetterDirect, Michael Abbara, and Kurt Bauer. It was found that fake reviews comprised up to 40 percent of their stores’ total reviews. It’s quite clear that violations were gross and amassing.
Corporate Counsel reported that Amazon commenced arbitrations on May 27 against these three sellers. Amazon’s claims will be heard by the American Arbitration Association. The core of Amazon’s allegation is that all the three sellers have violated contractual obligations to Amazon along with the breach of the Federal Consumer Protection Act and the Lanham Act. Amazon accuses them of creating fake accounts to leave positive reviews on their own products. Amazon is asking for the defendants to be banned from selling products on any of its sites or accessing its services. The suits also ask for the profits the sellers made on Amazon, attorneys’ fees, and damages exceeding $25,000.
According to the insiders and experts, reviewers may have helped vendors in the violation of their contract by reviewing products due to the allurement of discount coupons and adding items to an Amazon wish list at a vendor’s request…pretty innocuous acts!
It’s not that the e-commerce giant is only thinking about the punishments. It is trying to be proactive rather than reactive by creating ways to stop fake reviews on Amazon. Some of the measures, such as ranking of trusted reviews, developing algorithms that iron out the fake reviews, social media login for websites i.e.sellers,individuals and suspending accounts have already seen a day of the light. It has also tried out “verified purchase” designation of people who’ve bought the product. But foolproof and lacuna free execution of these measures may take time…and till then, Amazon will have to rely on their half-baked anti fake reviews system.
The law will take its course in the above-mentioned lawsuit. Hopefully, the decision will go in the favor of Amazon by sending a strong message to such fake reviewers and sellers that one more attempt and they will be behind the bars. Indeed time is ripe to nip them in the bud. Reviews are on the verge of becoming illusions as the correlation between user reviews and the actual product quality is diminishing with each passing day. Mintel’s observation, thus, is not at all surprising that almost 70 percent of Americans ask for other people’s opinions online before buying anything, and yet only 59 percent trust the actual recommendations.