Online shopping is very much dependent on good customer feedback. the coveted high rating on eBay, and the seller reputation system on Amazon both allow certain sellers to occupy the top spots in search results and gain instant trust from prospective customers.
Of course, someone was bound to capitalize on such a system. Amazon are now heading to court to sue several websites which boost seller ratings by paid distribution of good reviews. The system has been inundated with such fraudulent reviews in its two decadehistory, and Amazon claims that fake review selling tarnishes their brand name.
Sites such as buyazonreviews.com, buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net, and buyreviewsnow.com are all targeted in the new lawsuit, and additionally have been accused by Amazon of ‘cybersquatting’, the practice of buying domain names similar to a big site’s to gain traffic.
Amazon’s evidence includes a pretty watertight sting operation, where apparently sneaky purchases of reviews from these sites by the company themselves yielded several glowing reports with 5 star ratings on the products desired.
It’s pretty damning evidence, but some of the sites have claimed that they don’t in fact offer reviews for money, but simply charge an ‘administration fee’ in order to connect real buyers with the reviewing process. However, Amazon has claimed the opposite.
Instead of simply pushing users in the right direction, these shady sites are apparently using fake packages sent to fake reviewers addresses in order to fool Amazon into believing they are genuine. Amazon did not say how they found this out.
One of the sites, buyazonviews.com, claims on their site that they do offer “high quality unbiased reviews”, which are allegedly “written and posted “by an actual person who has tried your product”. As for the charges, the site claims they are “not receiving any money for your reviews nor are we paying reviewers” and that users money is then spent on “review sourcing, database management, and operation costs.”.
In other words it does all sound quite shady – Amazon haven’t yet commented on the situation, as the legal stuff is all still ongoing. Paying for reviews does seem like a smart way to get a good rating on amazon, but if anything does happen following the case you might find your sparkling credibility undermined.
Via: Seattle Times