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Amazon’s had enough of fake reviews on its site, files lawsuit

Amazon this week filed a lawsuit against companies that allegedly sell fake  four- and five-star reviews that appear alongside products on its main Amazon.com site. It’s the first time for the e-commerce giant to take such action, indicating increasing concern among Amazon executives that such phoney comments risk undermining the integrity of the site’s review section.

The suit, filed in a Washington state court on Wednesday, involves four companies – BuyAzonReviews.com, BuyAmazonReviews.com, BayReviews.net, and BuyReviewsNow.com – that Amazon claims sell less-than-honest product assessments to Amazon merchants looking to paint a rosy picture of their wares in order to get them noticed.

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In its filing, which accuses the companies of false advertising, trademark infringement, and violation of anti-cyber­squatting laws, Amazon is at pains to point out that such allegedly fake reviews are “small in number,” but added that the time had come to tackle the issue as they “threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand.”

‘It’s not illegal at all’

In an email interview with the Seattle Times, however, By Amazon Reviews’ owner Mark Collins insisted his company only sells “honest and unbiased” reviews, which, he added, “is not illegal at all.” The blurb on By Amazon Reviews’ homepage reads: “Are you tired of your products not being seen, tired of competitors leaving bad reviews? The solution is simple. Buy Amazon reviews.”

It adds that you can have “unlimited 4 and 5 star reviews,” promising that its “skilled writers” will “look at your product, look at your competitor’s products and then write state of the art reviews that will be sure to generate sales for you.”

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Reviews are a hugely important element of Amazon’s site, with many shoppers making sure to scan opinions before deciding whether to hand their money over. While Amazon has its own mechanisms in place to try to catch fake reviews, the fact that it’s decided for the first time to involve the courts suggests it is becoming a growing problem for the company.

[Source: Seattle Times]