Amazon Suing Sources of Fake Reviews

Last Update: Jul 20, 2022

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Amazon is suing the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups that coordinated fake reviews of products on the platform. Fake reviews appeared on products on the Amazon platform in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Amazon introduced product reviews in 1995 with the goal of helping shoppers make better shopping decisions. It is therefore critical to their long-term success that shoppers can trust the insights of other shoppers when purchasing products.

The FTC won’t tolerate fake reviews either. In 2019 the weight-loss supplement retailer Cure Encapsulations was fined $12.8 million for paying for faked reviews on Amazon. Just this year, the FTC fined Fashion Nova $4.2 million for blocking bad reviews from its site.

I spoke at a conference that included over a hundred Amazon retailers; their discussions of review manipulations were chilling.

One merchant was the victim of a competitor who wiped out all his positive reviews overnight moving the victim from the first to the twentieth page of results, basically destroying their business. Eventually Amazon corrected the situation, but it took two years!

Though that was definitely the worst story, sadly it was not the only one. I was left with a deep disgust and distrust of the Amazon platform, a platform which was so easy to manipulate that one merchant could hack in to destroy another. It made me wonder what unprotected gaps existed on the affiliate side. I’ve never been a fan of Amazon (they treat both their affiliates and their merchants so badly!), and this latest revelation of fake reviews gives me just one more reason to make this plea…

WORK WITH ANYONE BUT AMAZON!

Do you trust Amazon?

Recent Comments

75

I have added products through Awin to my blog, and joined a couple of affiliate-friendly single product sites as well. Not making a living yet, but it seems a waste of time to keep writing long, review posts for amazon products since the commissions were cut. I buy from amazon, choosing specific manufacturers whose quality I'm familiar with.
Thanks for your information!

I agree about writing long posts about Amazon products. Can you perhaps find a different source for the same product? Or find a similar product from a different source, so that you only have to adapt your existing posts?

I'm thrilled to hear that you aren't putting all your eggs into the Amazon basket!

I am working on what you suggested. I'm also getting some traction, after a long time, on WA referrals. Can't quit my day job, but it's good to see some results there too.

That's great! Keep up the solid work!

Jeannine, thanks for this insight. I wasn't fully aware this was going on. It isn't really Amazon's fault, except for the fact it can happen and they need to make sure it can't be that easy for competitors to destroy other merchants.

While I am an Amazon Associate (as well as an Awin affiliate :) ), on my clean beauty/products blog, I warn people they need to be careful of imposter products on Amazon. I give tips to rule out a product being an imposter.

I figure people will still buy from them whether I promote products on Amazon or not. I have plenty of other companies I am an affiliate of and that I personally buy direct from and promote.

It will be interesting to see what happens from all of those problems, especially the suit Amazon has against the Facebook group administrators. I'm glad they are taking action.

Paula

Sorry, Paula, I must disagree. It is Amazon's fault, because they've set up a system which makes it easy to bulk add fake reviews. This has been going on for years, and they are doing this to appear like they are doing something about it to the FTC.

Only suggest products you've personally tested or you run the risk of promoting a bad product. Literally say who the supplier is that you used, as others have no problem selling fake products as well.

Glad you're using Awin too!

Yes, that is what I said. It is their fault for allowing it to happen. I really only trust the beauty products where the manufacturer has their own products page set up. That way you can have more confidence in the product.
Paula

That's the right choice for sure!

Yea glad some action is being taken. I remember doing a review on a certain product that is only available on the vendor's website yet Amazon had the same product display with the same name but that is not original.

It is still there the last time I checked.

Then I found so many people were complaining about the product but this was because they got a fake one via Amazon and not from the direct seller.

Makes me wonder how many more fake products are out there than Amazon allows to be displayed.
.

Andre

Ugh, that's horrible that Amazon allows fake products like that, but the truth is there's very little verification done on what is sold. You've got to be so horrible to get removed. And even then, Amazon may make their own version if they think they can make a buck!

Very True Jeannine that was not the only product I have seen but guess if Amazon will try to get away with it as usual for the money they will continue until that get told seriously.

too much is allowed when they get so big for their shoes and often then feel they can't be touched.
Pretty much like Big Pharma

Hi Jeannine,

You have voiced what a great many individuals feel about Amazon. Sadly the facts create an uphill battle for several reasons.

There is no other company on earth that offers the vast and diverse kinds of products that are so easy to purchase. Their free shipping and easy return policies are extremely customer friendly. Even though that may not be the case for affiliates and other partners.

Amazon may not even be the source for the lowest cost. But customers generally do not care because they value convenience. My wife buys on Amazon regularly and most often the products are delivered earlier than promised. I do too.

However, I pay little or no attention to the reviews on Amazon for the reasons you brought up. I may peruse some reviews but they do not influence my decision. I check out reviews from other sources.

Amazon may be a good place to practice with an open mind after you have reasonable traffic on one's website. There are better alternatives like AWIN, Share-A-Sale, CJ Affiliates, Clickbank, etc. to build a profitable affiliate marketing business. I am speaking to the choir now, but my point is for others who may read my response.

All I can say is thanks once again for your message.

Cheers.

Edwin

I get it. They are so incredibly huge (even just built a new warehouse in my town!). I never order from them, but my husband does all the time, which I hate.

Glad you liked this insight! Thanks Edwin!

Fate review is definitely not accepted. Not sure how Amazon can control each review from its sellers. After this fake news broke out, Amazon has to do somethings to stop it.
I have to depend on Amazon because it is a one stop shop to get anything my users want. So far I received some income every month from Amazon since 2022.

Amazon can at minimum go after the organized fake review companies such as this last group. Those people had actually turned fake reviews into a huge, profitable business, just like Amazon!

You do have a choice. You can almost always find another source, a better source, for the same product or an even better one. It just takes a bit of work sometimes, but it's worth it. You are also leaving yourself vulnerable to Amazon cutting commissions like they did in the summer of 2020, when all commissions were reduced to 1% basically overnight. You cannot trust Amazon to be fair to you if you are an affiliate.

Thanks for the link. I only use Amazon Native Ad at the bottom of each page. Been a long time, I have clean the Amazon link in my content, even I have to change the URL. Appreciated your sharing.

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