The online retailer said its brand reputation was being tarnished by “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews.
Amazon claims the 1,114 defendants it is suing touted their false review service for as little as $5 on the website Fiverr, an online platform for buying and selling minor tasks.
Many of the fake reviewers, had requested review wordings from sellers and had used multiple accounts and IP addresses – numeric codes that identify a device in a network – to avoid being caught.
The e-commerce company started its campaign against the alleged fake reviewers by hiring some of the Fiverr members.
In its complaint to a court in Seattle, Amazon said that only a small minority of sellers and manufacturers attempted to gain unfair competitive advantages by creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews for their products on Amazon.com.”
It added: “While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand.”
“Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate,” court papers said.
Amazon said there had been misleading five-star reviews and comments about products, such as: “This has lit up my life” about a USB cable. A bogus comment said: “Definitely buying more … I was impressed with how bright the lights on the cable are,” while another reviewer gave a product top marks and added the comment: “Cool charger.”
Amazon is also using algorithmic filtering to tackle the issue of fake product reviews and inflated star ratings, it was revealed earlier this year. According to
Amazon, the artificial intelligence will bring more accurate reviews to the top, using them to create a star rating.
Curiously though Amazon has not worked out a way of tackling one-star review campaigns which are conducted against an author by political groups or religious cults. The cult floods a book review site with one star reviews to try and take the book out of the market. Amazon has received complaints about this particular sort of attack and refused to do anything.