According to a report by the consumer group Which?, there are still many websites selling fake Amazon reviews in bulk to businesses and sellers.
Fake product reviews have been a growing concern in recent years. In 2019, a study found that, as online shopping becomes more popular, the number of fake reviews has increased.
This study called on platforms like Amazon to do more to verify these reviews. Otherwise, it can be very challenging for consumers to know who to trust.
What was discovered in the report?
The latest Which? report found that the situation hasn’t improved. It found ten websites selling fake reviews for £5 each. These websites also offered positive reviews for free products or payments.
Many of the websites involved in the fake review business offered their services specifically for Amazon sellers that are using the Marketplace feature, which is aimed at private sellers wanting to use the platform.
A number of websites were identified offering reviews for Amazon Marketplace that broke the terms and conditions of the online giant’s platform.
This included packages and loyalty programs, which incentivized buying a large number of fake reviews at once. For example, one website offered reviews for £15 each but also provided discounted bulk packages of £620 for 50 or £8,000 for 1,000 reviews.
Furthermore, some of the businesses involved in these schemes claimed to have over 700,000 professional “product reviewers” working for them.
How can consumers protect themselves?
Although Amazon said it removes fake reviews wherever possible, it’s facing an uphill struggle as fake reviews are still widespread in the e-commerce industry, and it’s hard to police.
This means that consumers should be careful when shopping online, particularly on Amazon. Some of the extra steps they can take to protect themselves include:
- Being wary of products with a large number of reviews
- Looking for similar language or phrases in multiple reviews
- Searching for brands they don’t recognize and checking their website
- Being skeptical of products with lots of videos and pictures
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, noted, “The regulator must crackdown on bad actors and hold sites to account if they fail to keep their users safe. Amazon, and other online platforms, must do more to proactively prevent fake reviews infiltrating their sites so that consumers can trust the integrity of their reviews.”