American online retail giant Amazon is suing 1,114 people who it claims carried out bogus reviews on its website. It has filed a lawsuit in Seattle, Washington.
Amazon said its reputation is being undermined by false, deceptive and inauthentic reviews paid by sellers aiming to make their products more appealing.
In April this year, the Seattle-based multinational sued several websites for selling fake reviews.
According to Amazon, the ‘John Does’ (defendants) offered a fake review service on the website Fiverr.com for as little as $5.
An example, given by Amazon in its complaint, of somebody selling fake review services for $5 dollars.
Fake reviews undermine Amazon’s brand
In its complaint, which was filed on Friday, Amazon wrote:
“While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand.”
Amazon has attempted to remove the ads for reviewers on the website. However, it does not believe this addresses the ‘root cause’ of the problem or provide a deterrent.
The online retailer is suing individuals, and not Fiverr.com. It says that Fiverr.com, which bans this type of advertising, has not broken the law.
Amazon accuses many of the defendants of requesting the review wording from the seller, and using multiple IP addresses and accounts to avoid being tracked down.
Some fake reviewers have even arranged for empty boxes to be sent to them so that they can give the impression of having bought the products they are reviewing, Amazon claims.
Amazon also wrote that it is filing the complaint to:
“Protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate.”
“Although Amazon has successfully requested removal of similar listings from Fiverr in the past, the removal of individual listings does not address the root cause of the issue or serve as a sufficient deterrent to the bad actors engaged in creating and purchasing fraudulent product reviews.”
“This action is the next step in a long-term effort to ensure these providers of fraudulent reviews do not offer their illicit services through other channels and to take enforcement action against the dishonest sellers and manufacturers who use those services.”