Hate fake reviews? Amazon says blame social media

midian182

Posts: 7,072   +62
Staff member
In brief: Amazon has been fighting the scourge of fake reviews with takedowns and lawsuits for years, but they remain rife across the platform. One might imagine the fault lies with Amazon itself, yet it says social media companies are just as much to blame.

Amazon writes that it has 300 million active customers and over 1.9 million selling partners worldwide, which means there are lots of reviews on the site, many of which are fake; the retailer removed more than 200 million of them last year before they were seen by users.

A large number of these fake reviews come from companies that claim to have thousands of reviewers at their disposal. The firms sell positive reviews to unscrupulous product makers, often with guarantees of being able to secure an item the coveted “Amazon’s Choice” seal of approval.

Amazon says these organizations use social media to solicit fake reviews, but platforms such as Facebook, which wasn’t named in the blog post, are slow to act when warned about the activity. Amazon is using techniques that include machine learning to try and identify connected entities, though it remains a difficult task.

“In the first three months of 2020, we reported more than 300 groups to social media companies, who then took a median time of 45 days to shut down those groups from using their service to perpetrate abuse,” Amazon said. “In the first three months of 2021 we reported more than 1,000 such groups, with social media services taking a median time of five days to take them down.”

“While we appreciate that some social media companies have become much faster at responding, to address this problem at scale it is imperative for social media companies to invest adequately in proactive controls to detect and enforce fake reviews ahead of our reporting the issue to them.”

Amazon notes that it also holds bad actors and the service providers that provide the reviews accountable. It has previously launched lawsuits against those who purchased reviews and the service providers, including this case from 2015. However, the company says it needs coordinated assistance from consumer protection regulators around the world.

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,387   +4,716
I somewhat hate to say this, but the Coveted "Amazon's Choice" seal of approval??? :rolleyes: Some of the "Amazon's Choice" products I have seen on Amazon, I would not touch if they gave them away to me for free. It's just another marketing ploy, as I see it, for Amazon sheep.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,219   +5,916
"Reviews" have to be split into different categories.

#1 Experts who give overly analytical reviews
#1b Experts who give analytical reviews that laymen can understand and appreciate.
#2 Regular people who give initial build quality and initial enjoyment reviews but have no long term testing or follow up.
#3 People who can barely write and post a "review" just because...
#4 Angry, Biased individuals who have a political message or chip on their shoulder.
#5 PAID - they'll say anything you want them too for pay or free samples.
#6 Trolls.

Which are you?
 
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Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,801   +1,603
"Reviews" have to be split into different categories.

#1 Experts who give overly analytical reviews
#1b Experts who give analytical reviews that laymen can understand and appreciate.
#2 Regular people who give initial build quality and initial enjoyment reviews but have no long term testing or follow up.
#3 People who can barely write and post a "review" just because...
#4 Angry, Biased individuals who have a political message or chip on their shoulder.
#5 Trolls.

Which are you?
#6 No review. My review fee has not been met.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,910   +1,108
Seems like Amazon could fix this real quick by only accepting or counting reviews from verified purchases through the site. You know, like nearly every other online retailer.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 328   +326
Seems like Amazon could fix this real quick by only accepting or counting reviews from verified purchases through the site. You know, like nearly every other online retailer.

It would help, but there's nothing stopping vendors from paying people to buy the products in order to post a review. I suspect that's widespread already.
 

rrwards

Posts: 194   +343
It would help, but there's nothing stopping vendors from paying people to buy the products in order to post a review. I suspect that's widespread already.

Additionally there's the widespread tactic of promo code abuse. Have a bunch of people employed by the company buy the item with a promo code making it free or close to free. Don't have to ship any items and the fake buyers can submit 5 star reviews because Amazon marks their purchase as "verified buyer".
 
Seems like Amazon could fix this real quick by only accepting or counting reviews from verified purchases through the site. You know, like nearly every other online retailer.

You obviously aren't familiar with Amazon, because the site has been doing that for years. Not only that, sellers were able to exploit the verified user system, anyway, by giving reviewers heavy discounts.
 
Amazon embraces these fake reviews with open arms and even encourages them. I know this because I've flagged obvious fake reviews, and nothing came of it.

For example, years ago a bike blogger went on a tirade against an author and encouraged his readers to rate the book one star. Next thing you knew, the book was hit by a dozen one star reviews with the same phrases and wording of the blogger, as if he had either posted under various alts or his readers were just going by his lead.

I reported them to Amazon and even posted a link to the blog post that had instructed readers to mass down vote the book. Amazon told me that the reviews would be left up because they didn't violate the TOS.

Curiously, years later, a million or more detailed reviews from verified Amazon users started getting flagged and removed. Plus, long standing customers who've been reviewing forever were blocked from reviewing unless they met a threshold. Now most of the reviews are barely three sentences, and there are more and more foreign language reviews (I guess, to fill in the blanks).

To make matters worse, customers are now able to leave ratings without leaving reviews.

Funny how a site that's been strategically removing good reviews that have been on the site for years, blocking established customers from posting and ignoring reviews that have been flagged for obvious trolling is oh, so helpless against fake review campaigns. 🙄
 

p51d007

Posts: 2,828   +2,180
H*ll, you think Amazon "really" cares? All those reviews spur sales.
First thing I look at on a review, are the 1 & 2 star reviews, then the 3.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 470   +365
Surely most of us know how to read reviews .
All 5 star reviews in short period - throw out straight away - no more checking.
Check 1 star - to see if applies ( arrived 1 day late )
If few reviews, click on reviewer to see if a real buyer.
Spent more time on reading nuance 3 and 4 star
look at questions and answers
See if it's a generic product - sold by multiple Chinese fronts - nothing wrong as can check reviews on more expensive price ones as well.
search the WWW.
Just buy from Amazon and select sellers
Return the product
relax if it's a couple of bucks and not mission critical - you win some , lose some , it's all a game to me - the Ace of Spades
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,195   +5,942
The best way to validate or invalidate a review, is do your best to develop a psychological profile on the reviewer himself. Is he vain? Is he egotistical? Is he incompetent? Is he a chronic malcontent or problem customer? Is he a know it all windbag? You can obviously extend those criteria, especially it you're the type who has trouble making up your mind without the help of others.

Look for patterns and trends. For example, some time ago, Seagate had a bad run of 3 TB Barracuda drives.. Nobody pegged them much above 2 stars. Why ask for trouble by buying one?

Nobody, or at least the majority of millennials, seems to be capable of critical thinking, or decision making. Your dependencies will be your undoing. Then you do, buy, or say, what others tell you to, and whine about it later.

Remember, once upon a time, boyz & gurlz, there was no internet. How do you suppose people got product that satisfied them then? Oh wait, now I remember, you bought what the sales man told you to buy.. :rolleyes:
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 220   +145
"Seagate had a bad run of 3 TB Barracuda drives.. Nobody pegged them much above 2 stars. Why ask for trouble by buying one?" There's always a bunch of people who don't know how to install or setup a new drive and those buyers are the ones who often give 1 star reviews simply because they don't know about Disk Management.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 17,195   +5,942
There's always a bunch of people who don't know how to install or setup a new drive and those buyers are the ones who often give 1 star reviews simply because they don't know about Disk Management.
And I account for those uninformed individuals when I read the reviews on any device. As I said earlier, you need do to a psych profile on the reviewer himself, before you take anything said verbatim.

The reason Seagate had such a terrible run of bad 3 TB drives, is (IIRC), they had a flood at the factory where they were being produced.

And, if it pleases you, try to do a little better at doing quotes. The quoted individual's text should be inside a quote box, while your response should be outside and under it. I give your quote of my post "2 stars", and justifiably so. :p