How Merchants Use Facebook To Flood Amazon With Fake Reviews


The Washington Post (owned by Bezos) has a front page article today “Despite Amazon’s ban, paid reviews proliferate”.
Reporters investigated four specific categories of products and found that half to two-thirds of the reviews were questionable.
Some quotes:
A Washington Post examination found that for some popular product categories, such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers, the vast majority of reviews appear to violate Amazon’s prohibition on paid reviews. Such reviews have certain characteristics, such as repetitive wording that people probably cut and paste in.
Many of these fraudulent reviews originate on Facebook, where sellers seek shoppers on dozens of networks, including Amazon Review Club and Amazon Reviewers Group, to give glowing feedback in exchange for money or other compensation. The practice artificially inflates the ranking of thousands of products, experts say, misleading consumers. banned paying for reviews a year and a half ago because of research it conducted showing that consumers distrust paid reviews. Every once in a while, including this month, Amazon purges shoppers from its site whom it accuses of breaking its policies.
But the ban, sellers and experts say, merely pushed an activity that used to take place openly into dispersed and harder-to-track online communities.
There, an economy of paid reviews has flourished. Merchants pledge to drop reimbursements into a reviewer’s PayPal account within minutes of posting comments for items such as kitchen knives, rain ponchos or shower caddies, often sweetening the deal with a $5 commission or a $10 Amazon gift card. Facebook this month deleted more than a dozen of the groups where sellers and buyers matched after being contacted by The Post. Amazon kicked a five-star seller off its site after an inquiry from The Post.
In February, there were nearly 100 Facebook groups, split up by geographic region and by product categories, in which Amazon merchants actively solicited consumers to write paid reviews. One such group had over 50,000 Facebook members until Facebook deleted it after The Post’s inquiry. There are also Reddit boards and YouTube tutorials that coach people on how to write reviews. Websites with names such as Slickdeals and JumpSend let merchants give out discounted products, using a loophole to get around Amazon’s ban.


So what Amazon has actually done was tie the hands of their honest sellers and let the dishonest sellers run all over us.

Amazons feedback and review system is broken. Time to try something else. Between dishonest sellers buying positive reviews and dishonest competitors leaving negative reviews these reviews are anything but “organic”


Funny. Bezos owns the Washington Post. Nice strategy to get his word out on this issue


Bezos is really hand-off on news and editorial matters. Why on earth would he want to publicize this?


True feedbacks and reviews are usually very low percentage of selling quatity.
Those come flood ones most likely to be the fake ones.
If Amazon want to do something, they could catch them.
The fake feedbacks and reviews sellers should be punished heavily, then this phenomenon could be avoided.


It’s easy to make a distinction between honest one or paid reviewer. Combine the credit card system with every buyer and Frozen the holder’s deposit (double for the shopping payment) for more than 1 year if he was involved. Then the cheater will be bankrupt immediately.


Close their account was stupid way, because everyone have families ,friends and neighbors


This makes no sense at all

Break the rules, pay the consequences


I think one of the first things to do would to not let someone leave a review on an item they have not purchased on Amazon.
Amazon has my buying history going back years yet I can choose any product on Amazon and leave a product review.


First thing Amazon needs to do, is to block anyone from leaving a review if they didn’t make the purchase!!! Hello, that’s what a review is…a “REVIEW” of something. You can’t leave (an honest) a review of something if you never purchased it!!!


They could have bought it elsewhere, which is exactly why Amazon allows reviews.

Maybe it was a gift and their Father bought it for them off Amazon

Use your noggin


Actually that doesn’t work anymore, they buy the product and then leave a fake review. Having said that it would be nice if they removed all unverified reviews, a simple easy start to a broken system.


All true statements. I would say that buying somewhere else increases the chance of them buying a knock off.

I believe the issue is that more unethical sellers are using this loophole to do harm then the amount of honest buyers using it to leave true reviews.


My understanding of it is you can buy an item, leave a “review” and then cancel the order (in a 30 minute window I think).

What Amazon needs to do is make it so you cannot leave a product review that shows as a “verified purchase” until at least 24 hours after your purchase. Then they could change their algorithms for ranking in search, etc. (because that is why sellers do this) so that ONLY “verified purchases” (those now left 24 hours after a purchase and too late to cancel) affect the ranking of products in search.

If there is no financial benefit, the scammers… errrr… sellers will not do this!


Anyone who believes Internet reviews deserves to be misled.

I read reviews of products I own from time to time. The inaccuracy of them is evident before one has read more than two or three. Particularly the negative reviews which usually reflect a buyer too ignorant to know how to use the product and too lazy to read the manual.

The only way to insure honest and accurate reviews is to ban them all.


Couldn’t agree more, problem being is that would mean Bezos was wrong about reviews, they can’t get rid of them without exposing this truth. Therefore, doubt it will happen, wouldn’t want to hurt the big guys feelings. :sob:


Amazon never admits they are wrong. The either deprecate the feature or double-down on it.

When they deprecate it, they announce a grand new scheme.


Same is true on selling services. If it isn’t broken, they “fix” it, and if something is obviously wrong, they ignore it.


Why not make it to where you cant leave a review till tracking says its been delivered. You cant review a product you havent even gotten yet.


3 cheers to Bezos for the WAPO publishing this article. Some owners would have quashed it.