Have you ever eyed an item on Amazon, checked out the amazing positive reviews, ordered it, and when you received it you were completely disappointed? This happened to me on many occasions when I have ordered from this giant webshop. Often, I would check out a product and read the reviews before ordering it. Mind you, I only buy something online when it has a good rating. But with Amazon, even if it is a 5 out of 5, I still end up receiving something so bad it could be trash. Why?
Amazon is facing this huge issue that there are way too many fake reviews on the products that are being sold via their platform. The number of false ratings are so high that Amazon itself is having difficulties to keep them under control and they even reached out to people in a blog to help them spot those fake ones. In the recent years, Amazon has put a lot of effort into technology focusing on detecting suspicious reviews and removing them.
“In 2020, we stopped more than 200 million suspected fake reviews before they were ever seen by a customer, and more than 99% of reviews enforcement was driven by our proactive detection.”
However, some sellers do not want to put up with this and have tried other ways to keep up with all these positive fake reviews on their products. So they take it out of Amazon, for example to social media, in order to avoid the detection process. But even then, Amazon promises to not go easy on them and have advanced to using machine learning with the goal to find connected entities. Once they find the ‘misbehaving’ sellers on another platform, Amazon reports them to the respective social media company. Within the first three months of 2021 about a thousand such sellers or groups were reported and eventually shut down.
Not only the buyers of fake reviews have to be held accountable, but also the sellers, which is a much more difficult task according to the blog made by Amazon. They have filed several lawsuits against them, but finding the sellers in order to make them accountable is much harder. According to a BBC news report, fake reviews are even sold in bulks! Groups that sell reviews offer positive reviews in exchange for payment or goods. These are so popular that they even offer some kind of ‘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.”
Nevertheless, Amazon seems to stay optimistic despite the huge amount of fake reviews entering their online store each day and even outside of it. It is a difficult battle for Amazon, but they also cannot fight it completely alone. Although the social media platforms, for instance, did take action after certain groups were reported, the process is still too slow for Amazon. Actions taken have to be more harsher and radical in order to gradually reduce the appeal for abusers to buy fake reviews.