Amazon is taking legal action against more than 1 000 people it claims provide fake reviews on its Web site. The online retail giant says in the lawsuit – filed in the US on Friday – its brand reputation was being tarnished by “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews.
Amazon claims the 1 114 defendants, termed “John Does” as the company says it is unaware of their real names, offer their false review service for as little as $5 (about R65) on the Web site Fiverr.com, with most promising five-star reviews for a seller’s products.
Amazon sued a number of Web sites in April for selling fake reviews.
Despite successful efforts to remove such ads from the site before, Amazon says taking away individual listings did not address the “root cause” of the issue or provide a strong enough deterrent to those “bad actors engaged in creating and purchasing fraudulent product reviews”.
The lawsuit says: “Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate.”
The company says it had investigated the defendants and found that many of them requested text from sellers for the reviews, and took steps to avoid detection by using multiple accounts and unique IP addresses.
It added that the defendants acted in the knowledge that Amazon – which described itself as “Earth’s most customer-centric company” – did not allow paid-for or fictional reviews.