News

Fake Amazon reviews ‘being sold in bulk’ online

Question: Do you trust reviews ?Have you ever found a fake review?

The consumer group found 10 websites selling fake reviews from £5 each and incentivising positive reviews in exchange for payment or free products.

It suggested the firm was facing an “uphill struggle” against a “widespread fake reviews industry”.

An Amazon spokesman said: “We remove fake reviews and take action against anyone involved in abuse.”

The retail giant’s Marketplace allows other retailers to sell their goods via the Amazon website.

Which? identified websites offering review services for goods for sale on Amazon Marketplace that violated the firm’s terms and conditions.

‘Loyalty schemes’

These included “packages” of fake reviews available for sellers to buy for about £15 individually, as well as bulk packages starting at £620 for 50 reviews and going up to £8,000 for 1,000.

The group also suggested that five of the businesses it looked at had more than 702,000 “product reviewers” on their books.

Product reviewers are offered small payments ranging from a few pounds up to more than £10, alongside free or discounted products. They can even take part in “loyalty schemes” and earn themselves premium goods, from children’s toys to exercise equipment.

The websites Which? reviewed also offered advice on how to write reviews so as not to arouse Amazon’s suspicion, and in some cases had criteria for reviewers to meet to qualify for rewards, it said. They included leaving reviews that were at least two sentences long, or including photos, for example.

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How to spot fake online reviews:

  • Be sceptical. This is probably your best weapon, especially if there is an unusually high number of reviews of one product compared with others in that category.
  • Read and read again. Look for the same language used in multiple reviews.
  • Brands you don’t know. If you don’t recognise the brand, check to see if it has its own legitimate-looking website, with clear contact details.
  • Be wary of products with lots of pictures or videos. Sellers can incentivise fake reviewers to encourage people to add photos and videos.
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