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Amazon goes after two firms allegedly selling fake reviews

With so many fake reviews plaguing online shopping sites these days, confirming the true quality of a product is as challenging as ever.

Amazon knows all too well that fake reviews dent the integrity of its site, with a growing number of shoppers unable to trust the opinions left by others about products they’re considering buying.

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The e-commerce giant revealed this week that as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the situation, it’s suing two alleged fake-review brokers — AppSally and Rebatest — that Amazon claims enable the posting of misleading product reviews in return for cash payments or free products.

Amazon alleges that the two brokers “mislead shoppers by having their members try to post fake reviews in stores such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy,” adding that the aim of the legal action is to get both companies shut down.

“Fake review brokers attempt to profit by deceiving unknowing consumers and creating an unfair competitive advantage that harms our selling partners,” Amazon’s Dharmesh Mehta said in a release. “We know how valuable trustworthy reviews are to our customers. That is why we are holding these review fraudsters accountable. While we prevent millions of suspicious reviews from ever appearing in our store, these lawsuits target the source.”

Amazon said its latest round of legal action follows an in-depth investigation into the two review brokers, which together “claim to have more than 900,000 members” willing to write what it claims are bogus reviews.

The online shopping site said fake review brokers try to evade detection in various ways and explained how it believes the two companies at the center of its lawsuits operate.

Amazon alleges AppSally “sells fake reviews for as low as at $20 and instructs bad actors to ship empty boxes to people willing to write fake reviews and to provide AppSally with photos to be uploaded alongside their reviews. The fraudulent scheme run by Rebatest will only pay people writing 5-star reviews after their fake reviews are approved by the bad actors attempting to sell those items.”

Amazon says it deploys machine learning technology and human investigators to deal with fake reviews in a bid to keep them off its shopping site.

Highlighting the enormity of the task, it said that in 2020 alone it prevented a staggering 200 million suspected fake reviews from going live on its website, adding that it receives more than 30 million reviews each week.

Want to know how to spot fake reviews on Amazon? Then check out these useful tips.

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