Amazon deletes various reviews on products – Is the system broken?

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Amazon the multinational company based in Seattle, US might have discovered a big fraud in the rating system. After the recent investigation from Financial Times, Amazon deleted about 20,000 product reviews from their website. Mainly because of the suspicion that some of the top reviewers on amazon the UK had engaged in fraud.

These reviewers were paid to leave five start rations on various products across the platform. Financial Times investigated that the top Amazon reviewer in the UK Justin Fryer left a five-star rating once every four hours on average in August. That would be alright if he used these products and actually liked them. However, as it turns out most of these products were from unknown Chinese manufacturers. The reviewer, later on, sold these items on eBay instead of keeping them.

This is not the first time investigators have caught up to scams like these. Most of the companies contact reviewers on social media platforms. They offer incentives and discounts on their product to have a nice review set fro their product. The reviewer chooses one of the companies products and writes a review on it after the purchase.  After a five-star review is posted reviewers get a full refund and sometimes a little on top of that as well.

Amazon is not a new company an the have a comprehensive set of rules in place to moderate reviews. The company has a rule that forbids users to put reviews in exchange for money.  This states that “compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else.”

However, if people were following these rules Amazon would not have taken this big action. Nine out of ten of the top product reviewers on amazon in the UK broke this rule. As a result of their suspicious behavior, the company removed about 20,000 reviews written by these individuals.

The Response:

Amazon got alerted of this recent situation after a user reported these reviews to the CEO of the company in August. Jeff Bezos assured that they will investigate this matter and take firm action against this individual. However, despite the assurances, the company is yet to take any action against the reviewer.

Interestingly, in his defense, Fryer said that non of the companies paid him for his reviews. All of his reviews and 5-star ratings are from hones experiences. In addition, he said that all his eBay listings were for “unused” and “unopened” products.

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Although this time it was not a large scale issue. As we said earlier Amazon has been dealing with fake reviewers for a while now. There have been various cases of review hijacking and rating manipulation. Companies tend to link older ratings with recent reviews to fool customers into buying their products.

Nowadays with lockdown restrictions around the world, the increase in traffic to online stores has made moderation even more difficult. According to Fakespot, a firm that analyzes rating fraud. 58 percent of products on Amazon in the UK In May 2020,  seemed to have fake reviews. Interestingly according to Fakespot, Amazon UK has the highest percentage of fake reviews in online stores.

Since online stores are the only place to buy consumer items right now this issue should be resolved if customers are to trust big marketplaces like Amazon. In their response to current issues, Amazon said in their statement that “We have clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners that prohibit abuse of our community features, and we suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies.”

 

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