Amazon fake reviews problem: since Amazon’s early days, reviews are the one big metric customers rely on to determine the quality and authenticity of a product. It turns out many of those reviews can’t be trusted. The review system, as of today, is broken. Before the pandemic, the usual benchmark around Amazon’s average fake reviews was 30%.
The norm has now become close to 35%, 40%. In recent years, thousands of fake reviews have flooded Amazon and Walmart, eBay, and others, just as sales numbers have skyrocketed. And as shoppers stay home, online orders are up 57% since the same time last year, and the number of reviews is up 76%.
There’s an element where you want to trust those stars, and you want to trust the numbers, because if you can’t trust that, how do you know what you’re buying?
They’re is bad actors, solicit paid optimistic reviews to bots, and click on farms that up-vote unfavorable reviews to take out the competitors.
The pretend overview has boosted sales of unsafe products, triggered big manufacturers to sever ties with Amazon, and damage business for authentic sellers.
why fake reviews have infiltrated Amazon
One big draw over competitors like Walmart, Target, and eBay is that Amazon’s listings often have hundreds or even thousands of reviews instead of just a handful.
It’s so easy, no matter what site you’re on, to say the most reviews with the most stars means the most level of happiness. It’s just only not the case. The problem is Amazon fake reviews, and real reviews are getting harder to tell apart.
A high rating can also trigger the coveted Amazon’s Choice badge, although. Amazon did say it will delete the badge if a product isn’t adhering to policy. Amazon prohibits any attempt to manipulate reviews. It can droop, ban, and take authorized motion in opposition to those that violate these insurance policies.
Why is someone writing that review?
If those Amazon customers aren’t really customers or if they’re an organization of paid individuals who just sit there and go 5-star, 5-star, 5-star, that doesn’t really tell us anything meaningful about the product. When you have no reason to think it’s a fake review, that’s when the consumer’s in the most danger.
- Writing reviews and getting paid,
- Writing reviews and getting free products,
- Writing reviews and getting discounts.
Sellers solicit pay-for-play reviews through popular Twitter accounts and Facebook groups with thousands of members.
UCLA and USC launched research that discovered more than twenty pretend reviews associated with Fb groups with a median of 16,000 members. In additional than 560 postings every day, sellers supplied a refund or cost for an optimistic review, normally around $6.
Amazon says it works with social media sites to report bad actors who are cultivating abusive reviews outside our store. And we’ve sued thousands of bad actors for attempting to abuse our review systems. The Federal Trade Commission requires reviewers to disclose any payment or connection to the product being reviewed.
How sellers get Amazon fake reviews
On some sites like Fiverr and Freelancer, users get around this by advertising marketing services, a thinly veiled reference to pay-for-play reviews. There’s also the more direct approach where sellers include a note inside a package asking for a review in exchange for a discount or other compensation.
There are legitimate paid reviewer programs like Amazon Vine, Early Reviewer, and Amazon Associates, which require reviewers to disclose that they’ve received a product for free in exchange for what’s supposed to be an honest review.
But Amazon has little way to detect a compensated review when deals are made outside these programs.
On Amazon, if you’re not doing some, tricky technique, it’s at least one hundred orders for each review that you get.
In 2019, Amazon changed its review system so customers can leave a simple star rating with one click instead of a full written review. This tool that Amazon put out there to make it easier for consumers to give real feedback has made it easier for the scammers to elevate their star rating.
While a rating can only be left by someone who bought the product, Amazon allows reviews from anyone even if they haven’t made a purchase.
Another recent tactic involves seed packets from China showing up at hundreds of people’s houses who don’t know where they came from. The Better Business Bureau warns that the scam, often called Brushing, means the seller is using the seeds to generate fake Amazon orders tied to U.S. addresses.
Then they can write fake verified reviews about themselves, falsely inflating their seller rating. Then there are sock puppet reviews, which are bogus accounts created by a seller to write positive reviews on their own products.
Sellers can also hack into a customer’s Amazon account and post a positive review from there without the customer ever knowing.
How customers can spot Amazon fake reviews
With so many ways to create realistic fake reviews, some start-ups have developed ways to detect them.
- Fakespot is one of these.
Fakespot launched a new Chrome plugin in May that has a quarter-million downloads so far. It analyzes the credibility of a listing’s reviews and gives it a grade from A to F.
Other online tools that customers can use to check the credibility of Amazon reviews include
Shoppers willing to spend time to vet their purchases can manually spot fake reviews, too.
The number one way consumers tell us they identify a fake review is multiple reviews with the same language in them. They’re looking for patterns in the reviews. The second most important way is reviews that are not actually about the product. The third is poor grammar and misspellings.
And the fourth, and we think this is one of the more important ones, is an overwhelming number of five-star positive reviews.
If a product only has two or three reviews that it’s gathered over a long period and those two or three reviews look pretty good, consumers need to give kind of more trust to a product like that. That brand and that manufacturer, they’re not manipulating anything.
If you do spot a fake review, Amazon encourages customers to use the report button next to each review.
Amazon will use powerful machine learning tools and skilled investigators to analyze over ten million review submissions weekly, aiming to stop abusive reviews before they’re ever published.