Online marketplace Amazon is facing a bit of a credibility problem. After an "extensive investigation", the company has found various misleading and fake product reviews on its website, and is suing more than 1,000 fraudulent reviewers. The lawsuit has been filed against account holders from Fiverr.com, a marketplace for people looking to offer services such as product reviews, logo design, content writing for as low as $5.
"Most of the defendants offer positive or 5-star reviews for Amazon sellers' products. Indeed, many encourage the Amazon seller to create the text for their own reviews," say the complaint filed in a Seattle court on Friday. The court filing goes on to add, "In at least one instance, the seller of a 'Verified Review' was willing to receive an empty envelop, not the product itself, simply to create a shipping record."
Amazon has been dealing with the fake reviews crisis for some time now. Back in August, the New York Times published the story of one reviewer-for-hire Todd Rutherford, who posted hundreds of fake book reviews on Amazon. These reviews were later removed by the e-commerce giant, but many such instances have haunted the website since then.
E-tailers across the web have ramped up security protocols when it comes to user reviews. Websites like Flipkart, MouthShut and even Amazon use AI-based machine learning systems to combat fake reviews, but as technology progresses, sellers too have access to tools which can fool the system into believing that the revews are genuine.
So, how does one protect themselves against fake reviews? For starters there are a few websites which help you spot a fake review. For instance, a website called fakespot.com has the ability of analysing reviews on Amazon. All one needs to do is paste the Amazon product link on the website and wait for the analysis. We tried this with the Amazon product page for Yamaha RX-A840BL Home Theater system, and the result showed about 20% fake reviews for the product.
Some other common ways of spotting a fake review on Amazon include checking launguage usage, length and tone of review, checking the reviewers' past reviews, checking if the reviewer has actually purchased the product (symbolised by the orange 'verified purchase' against the reviewer's name).
If you think you've been duped by a review in the past or if you have any more suggestions to spot a fake review, do visit our comments section, below.