Customer reviews on Amazon play an important role in the buying decision of online shoppers. However, off late, the system is being gamed!
When shopping online, prospective customers pay close attention to product reviews to understand the quality, authenticity and after-sales support to make an informed decision. However, as of late, many sellers, after realising the same, have started using it in unethical ways for getting an edge over this system.
Platforms such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay and many others are filled with thousands of fake reviews which aim to attract online shoppers to hit that ‘Buy Now’ button. Therefore, it is safe to say that customer reviews are no longer the biggest metric when it comes to the reliability of a product’s quality or authenticity.
There are two parties to blame here – first, the fraudulent sellers who want to make their products seem more genuine and thus seek for fake reviews. Second, the people who make money by posting fake reviews on behalf of those sellers.
Now, the question that arrives here is, where does one source these ‘paid’ fake reviews from? The answer has been right beneath your eyes all the time. It is none other than the biggest social media giant Facebook! Yes, you read that correctly.
It has come to light that there exist some Facebook groups wherein bad actors can solicit this work to various people who are willing to do these unethical tasks. These groups also give Amazon sellers access to malicious bots and click farms which can upvote negative reviews on their competitor’s products in order to take them out.
In July, a study released by UCLA and USC unearthed the connection between more than 20 fake reviews to Facebook groups which had an average of 16,000 members.
When dug deeper, sellers in these groups seemed to be offering a refund or payment worth $6 for a single positive review which basically shows how accumulating fake positive reviews have truly become a widespread epidemic.
Currently, shoppers all over the world are mostly restricted to staying indoors and are prone to ordering online more than ever. Thus, the repercussions of this fraudulent activity are becoming even more serious.
These fake reviews mostly boost the sale of unsafe products on Amazon which can lead to customers becoming unsatisfied with the platform.
Many big-league brands, taking note of the same have severed ties with the Bezos headed e-commerce giant.
Amazon Upping The Ante Against Fake Reviews
Amazon, being aware of this problem, has clarified that they are currently employing powerful machine learning tools and many skilled investigators who are analysing over 10 million review submissions on a weekly basis.
Their penultimate goal is to be able to stop each and every abusive review even before they are published.
Bezos’ e-commerce giant has recently disclosed that they have removed 20,000 reviews after an investigation which found that the top Amazon reviewers in the UK seemed to be engaging in fraud.
Thus, all in all, it is high time that sellers on various eCommerce brands and sellers to present a more transparent picture of their products and build a genuine repository of customer reviews on top of that.
Also, consumers are becoming smarter by the day as well and they will definitely not fall prey to various brands who use these shady techniques to gain their trust for long.