Consumer choice brand Which? has discovered that fake Amazon reviews can be bought in bulk online in order to mislead shoppers. The discovery suggests that visitors to e-commerce websites should be on the lookout for anything that looks suspicious when checking customer feedback and recommendations.
Which?'s report claims there are numerous websites selling fake Amazon reviews starting from £5 each or offering to place favorable reviews in exchange for free products. Although Amazon takes a dim view of misleading consumers in this way, it appears that the technology giant has a tough battle on its hand to wheedle out all the misleading reviews on its platform.
Although products distributed by Amazon should be trustworthy, Amazon Marketplace allows other sellers to offer their goods through the Amazon website. Which? identified services offering to post fake reviews on Amazon Marketplace, despite this being an infringement of Amazon’s terms of service.
- Check out our roundup of the best e-commerce platforms
- Here's our list of the best e-commerce hosting providers
- Also, take a look at the best payment gateways around
It would appear that the use of fake reviews is relatively widespread, with Which? discovering five businesses that had more than 702,000 “product reviewers” working for them. These individuals typically receive small payments, discounted products, or offers to join loyalty schemes in exchange for placing positive reviews.
In addition, it appears that many of these sites offering product reviews for sale are well aware of Amazon’s attempts to block their influence. For example, some of the sites provided advice on how to write reviews that would not arouse the suspicions of Amazon moderators.
Although Amazon does regularly remove fraudulent reviews, the sheer number being posted makes it difficult to ensure that every review is legitimate. As well as giving greater powers to consumer regulators, a larger degree of customer skepticism may also be needed to thwart the growth of misleading online reviews.
- Also, we've highlighted the best antivirus software
Are you a pro? Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to the TechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!
Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services. After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.