Customers tell us that product reviews are one of the most useful features in our stores and a key reason why they enjoy shopping at Amazon. Reviews give customers the confidence to buy or not buy a product, and reviews also provide a way for honest entrepreneurs to differentiate their products from similar items. But reviews are only beneficial if they accurately reflect people’s real experiences with a product.
Earlier this year, Amazon took legal actions against three major fake review brokers—Fivestar Marketing, Matronex, and AppSally. The brokers have now stopped their fraudulent schemes targeting Amazon customers in the UK, U.S., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. As a result, nearly 350,000 people using their websites and willing to write fake and misleading product reviews are no longer incentivised to do so on Amazon.
As a part of our continued effort to ensure a safe and trustworthy shopping experience, Amazon is now taking legal action against another major fake review broker—Extreme Rebate. Extreme Rebate is based in Hong Kong, and it tries to push misleading reviews onto Amazon stores in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Canada. Amazon filed lawsuits against them in the U.S. and Germany to shut them down and to compel them to provide information about who hired them. This information will allow us to remove any resulting fake reviews that haven’t already been detected and removed by our advanced technology and proactive processes that constantly monitor the store.
Ever since Amazon introduced customer reviews in 1995, we have had clear policies that prohibit reviews abuse, including paying for reviewing and soliciting only positive reviews. More than 10,000 Amazon employees around the world work to protect our store from fraud and abuse, including preventing fake reviews. We use a combination of machine learning technology and skilled investigators to analyse each review before it’s displayed. As a result, well over 99% of products viewed in our store contain only authentic reviews.
However, like many stores and websites that value and share customer feedback, we face a complex challenge from fake review brokers. These fraudsters created an industry focused on posting fake and inauthentic reviews at scale. The brokers approach customers through their own websites and solicit them to write misleading or inflated reviews in exchange for money, free products, or other incentives. For example, Extreme Rebate runs fraudulent schemes that provide free products and pays members up to $4 per review for five-star reviews that are at least 15 words long and include pictures or videos.
By taking legal action against these fraudsters, Amazon targets the source of the problem and sends a clear message that we will hold fake review brokers accountable. Our expert investigators, lawyers, analysts, and other specialists track down brokers, piece together evidence about how they operate, and then file lawsuits to get them shut down. Our goal is to provide the best shopping experience for our customers, and this strategy of shutting down fraudsters is working.
Read more about some of the other methods we use to stop fraud, counterfeit and abuse.