Amazon (Finally) Suing Sellers Over Fake Reviews [REBLOG]

Reblogged from: GreyWarden

(reblogged from


One of Amazon’s most appealing features is the unbiased reviews provided to members. Unfortunately, it turns out that some sellers have taken it upon themselves to feed fake reviews to their customers-to-be. This wouldn’t be a prudent idea. Amazon is (and has been) suing those sellers that are buying positive reviews.

Amazon has previously sued to stop websites that sell fake Amazon reviews, along with individuals offering to write fake reviews. This latest batch of lawsuits is against the companies that buy fake reviews for their products.

A story from TechCrunch this week reports that three new lawsuits were brought against sellers where the fake reviews made up 30 percent to 45 percent of the overall reviews. According to TechCrunch, the defendants are Michael Abbara of California, Kurt Bauer of Pennsylvania and a Chinese company called CCBetter Direct.

We reached out to Amazon for comment and received the following in regard to these cases:

While we cannot comment on active litigation, we can share that since the beginning of 2015, we have sued over 1,000 defendants who offered to post fake reviews for payment. We are constantly monitoring and will take action against abusive sellers by suspending and closing their accounts and by taking further legal action. 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. Lawsuits are only one piece of the puzzle. We are working hard on technologies that allow us to detect and take enforcement action against perpetrators while also preventing fake reviews from ever surfacing. As always, it is important for customers to know that these remain a very small fraction of the reviews on Amazon and we introduced a review ranking system so that the most recent, helpful reviews appear first. The vast majority of reviews on Amazon are authentic, helping millions of customers make informed buying decisions every day.

The rules in this type of a case are fairly straightforward. Amazon has sellers agree to the following:

You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review. Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited.

Furthermore, when sellers choose to break selling policies, they may find themselves without much recourse. The seller policies make it clear that any disputes or claims will be resolved by binding arbitration and won’t go to court and that each party waives their right to a trial.

So sellers take heed, if you want a good review, make sure your product/service earns it. To make sure that you are adhering to Amazon’s rules, read the full Participation Agreement in its entirety.


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0 thoughts on “Amazon (Finally) Suing Sellers Over Fake Reviews [REBLOG]

  1. What is an “excessive number” of free or discounted items for review? Because I looked at a pair of headphones a couple of weeks ago, which I promptly decided NOT to buy, because while it had excellent reviews…they were all really good reviews from people who had mostly gotten them for a discount in exchange for a review. If it had just been a couple of people, I wouldn’t have been so suspicious of it, but it was review after review on down the page. I gave up looking for a review that WASN’T in exchange for a discount or free product.

      1. The downside of this is that the whole thing makes it very unpopular for people like me, who write Advance Reviews of books for NetGalley and the like, to put reviews up on Amazon. I haven’t put any book reviews up on Amazon for quite some time, in fact, because the whole environment there makes me so uncomfortable. But I thought part of the point of writing ARC reviews was to get the word out to a wide audience…especially if you have a favorable opinion of a book. So I guess I feel two ways about the whole thing. I understand that reviews in exchange for product are necessary and helpful…but I also still feel that they shouldn’t be the ONLY reviews available. Especially for things other than books.

        1. Frankly, Amazon reviews have gotten such a reputation for being unreliable that it’s probably much better for a publisher to get reviews via Netgalley etc. instead these days — I actually wouldn’t be surprised if that were one of the driving factors in this suit.

          Amazon didn’t have to worry about the reliability of the reviews on their site being called into question as long as they were, for all intents and purposes, the only game in town (sites like Epinions never had that kind of reach and folded eventually anyway, and B&N reviews aren’t any better than Amazon reviews).

          It’s only the advent of book community sites like Goodreads and advance reviewing on sites like Netgalley that’s made them sit up and take note. Well, we know how they dealt with Goodreads — they just bought it. Whether or not Netgalley is in their sights is anyone’s guess. But Netgalley is all about HONEST reviews in exchange for receiving a copy of the book, and if people post a negative advance review, there are no repercussions. And to the perception of reviews on Amazon, that’s potentially a dangerous game changer.

          1. IF they were to ever acquire NetGalley, which I hope they don’t do, and I think would be terrible, I would give it up. I’ve been worrying reviews for NetGalley for 5 years, and I would hate to lose that part of my life, but I want my reviews to mean something. And on NetGalley, I feel like they do. On my blog, I feel like they do.

          2. I totally agree. I don’t have enough spare time to realistically be able to make the kind of commitment that Netgalley requires, but I think sites like Netgalley are *tremendously* important, just because they really do provide meaningful, unbiased reviews. Amazon acquiring them, to me, is on a level with Ammy’s acquisition of GR — where I pulled out shortly after their purchase by Amazon in 2013.

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