jump to last post 1-10 of 10 discussions (44 posts)

Amazon sues those writing “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews

  1. makingamark profile image74
    makingamarkposted 13 months ago

    A very interesting article - with ramifications for anybody who has ever provided a fake review

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 … -reviewers

    "Online retailer files lawsuit in US against people whose names it says it does not know, claiming they offer reviews for sale"

    Let's suppose Amazon don't stop there.....

    I'm wondering
    1) what perspective they will take in future on people writing reviews for Amazon associate links which are not on the Amazon website?
    2) Whether HubPages need extra checks on the reviews on this website?
    3) Is this the end of the Fiverr review scam?

    1. jackclee lm profile image79
      jackclee lmposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      Amazon is using the advanced AI systems to identify possible fake reviewers. This is a good application of AI. It should not be too hard to detect reviewers that consistently give high marks regardless of the actual product they are reviewing. Also, there could be many patterns that show up if they are looking for them such as, fake identity, location of IP address, even style of text... Good for Amazon for being proactive on this. Other companies should follow. It is about time we use technology for keeping the system honest.

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I totally agree Jack. I think this is an extremely smart move by Amazon.

        Apart from cleaning up their site it says Amazon employs top technology to identify fake reviews - and the implicit message is "Can you be sure you're not reading a fake review on another site?"

        ....which returns me to my original post.

        Bottom line Amazon have just upped the stakes for all websites which host reviews!

        PS This is the cnet report on Amazon's use of AI http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-updates … -platform/

        1. jackclee lm profile image79
          jackclee lmposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          I hope they will also stop the fake book reviews especially the ones that give negative reviews to conservative authors. They are so easy to spot, even I could write an algorithm to stop them. The truth matters and it is not always about making money. Some political activist use the net to smear their opponents.

          1. calculus-geometry profile image85
            calculus-geometryposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            Since Amazon purchased Goodreads.com I wonder if they also use their technology to spot fake reviews on that site.

            1. psycheskinner profile image80
              psycheskinnerposted 13 months ago in reply to this

              These are specifically financially paid for fake high star review intended to cause extra sales.  Amazon is saying these reviews damage their good name as a place helping you decide what to buy as well as vending products.

              I don't think that legal scenario applies to Goodreads, nor are paid review very common there.

              1. calculus-geometry profile image85
                calculus-geometryposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                I understand why Amz is going after fakers perpetrating fakery on its own site and I know Goodreads is small potatoes in comparison, but it is another tentacle of the Amazon organism, so I wonder if Amazon will eventually apply its technology to clean up fake reviews (both good and bad), even if they're not part of a microeconomy of paid fake reviews.

                1. psycheskinner profile image80
                  psycheskinnerposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                  I have never notice a lot of what I would consider fake reviews there.  I have a dozen or more books listed and the reviews seem pretty kosher.

    2. TimArends profile image85
      TimArendsposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      "Whether HubPages need extra checks on the reviews on this website?"

      I don't think that's what the lawsuits are about. They are about reviews directly on  the Amazon site.

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I think you misunderstand - I'm speculating on the next stage of the Amazon strategy.

        Once it's cleaned up its own site I'd be very surprised if it did not move on to the sites of Amazon Associates.

        If Hubpages is 100% confident there are no fake reviews there is no problem.

    3. Solaras profile image91
      Solarasposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      I don't understand something here.  Amazon knows which reviews are from verified purchases and which are just someone posting a review that for a product they may or may not have purchased elsewhere.  Amazon could simple purge the reviews that were not verified purchases on their site, and be done with it.

      Are they going after people or organizations that purchased the product, but they suspect them of having been paid to do so and post a positive review. How do it know?

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Artificial Intelligence (aka as 'AI')

        It's explained in this article Computer says no: Amazon uses AI to combat fake reviews

      2. psycheskinner profile image80
        psycheskinnerposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Firstly, the reviews by people who did not purchase on Amazon are an enormous asset to Amazon when they are genuine, they reduce consumer doubt and increase purchase size and frequency.

        Secondly, the vendor of any product can send a 100% discount to any person they please.  Most of these fake reviews are by "verified purchasers".

        1. WryLilt profile image87
          WryLiltposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          That ^

        2. makingamark profile image74
          makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          I don't think Amazon is aiming to get rid of the reviews by people who have not bought on Amazon.

          I used to do monthly reviews with respect to the best books on different topics (a review of reviews) and I have to say that after a while, the quantity of reviews I was reading made it very easy to spot the fake reviews and I started discounting them myself when arriving at overall assessments.

          If you couple the language and content of a review with other data such as the nature of the account name, the IP address of the poster, the email address used, the pattern of purchases from that account, the nature of the other reviews left by that account etc etc - I think it perfectly feasible to develop an algorithm which would throw up questionable reviews.

          It seems to me that Amazon has only taken the next logical step and has started going after those who are intent on gaming the system and undermining their credibility as a retailer.  I'm all for it!

          Now if they could also focus on making sure people have got their products listed in the right category all would be well with the world!

    4. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image95
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 13 months ago in reply to this

      This is interesting because awhile back someone here was bragging that he was being paid $5 for every review, even though he had no knowledge whatsoever of the products he reviewed.

      I had always heard that Amazon nixed these types of things, but this made me wonder.  Now I know the truth.  Thanks.

  2. DasEngel profile image60
    DasEngelposted 13 months ago

    4. Disclaimer of liability

    To the extent permitted at law, we do not accept any responsibility for any statement in the Guardian Content. Nothing in the Guardian Content is provided for any specific purpose or at the request of any particular person. For the avoidance of confusion, we will not be liable for any loss caused as a result of your doing, or not doing, anything as a result of viewing, reading or listening to the Guardian Content or any part of it. You can access other sites via links from the Guardian Site. These sites are not under our control and we are not responsible in any way for any of their contents.

    We give no warranties of any kind concerning the Guardian Site or the Guardian Content.

    9. Changes to these terms and conditions of use

    Please note that we may change these terms and conditions from time to time at our sole discretion and we reserve the right to do without your consent. Any revised terms and conditions will be applicable at the time of posting on the Guardian Site.

    12. No waiver

    Our failure to insist upon or enforce any provision of these terms of service shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right of Guardian.

    15. Governing law & jurisdiction (for US users)

    If you have accessed the Guardian Site from the US, these terms and conditions are governed by the laws of the United States of America and the laws of the State of New York. You agree that exclusive jurisdiction for any claim or dispute with Guardian or relating in any way to your use of the Guardian Site resides in the courts of the County of New York, State of New York, and you further agree and expressly consent to the exercise of personal jurisdiction in the courts of the County of New York, State of New York, in connection with any such dispute and including any claim involving Guardian News & Media LLC or its affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, contractors, officers, directors, telecommunication providers and content providers.

    16. Additional disclaimers

    Visitors to the Guardian Site agree that their use of the Guardian Site is at their own sole risk. The Guardian Site is provided "as is" and "as available," without warranty of any kind, either express or implied including but not limited to: (i) any warranties concerning the availability, accuracy, appropriateness, reliability, timeliness, or usefulness of the content of the Guardian Site

    1. makingamark profile image74
      makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      ...and your point is?

      The legal claim is a FACT
      The article is a report about a FACT (i.e. the legal claim)

      Amazon is obviously very conscious of wanting to remain credible to purchasers.

      It's also a very important change in Amazon's strategy on reviews - and follows Amazon suing other websites which sold fake fake reviews earlier this year. It's also logical to consider what Amazon's next steps might be.

      Within the context of this action and its business model which relies significantly on income from Amazon I'm assuming HubPages will be wanting to make 100% sure that ALL reviews on this site are authentic and credible i.e. exercise the quality controls they are so very rightly keen on - and keep Amazon happy!

      I'm quite sure that everybody who is a member of this website would also be very keen for HubPages to make sure that there is no scope whatsoever for Amazon to ever be concerned about reviews on this site.

  3. makingamark profile image74
    makingamarkposted 13 months ago

    Obviously some people have a limited acquaintance with the quality business media..... [I see the post prompting this one has now disappeared! ...and has now reappeared http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/133563#post2771719 ]

    Other websites referencing this legal action are:
    * the BBC - Amazon targets 1,114 'fake reviewers' in Seattle lawsuit
    * Forbes - Amazon Sues 1,114 Fake Reviewers On Fiverr
    * Bloomberg Amazon Targets Web Freelancers Peddling Fake Customer Reviews
    * Sky News - Amazon Sues 1,114 'Fake Reviewers' For Hire

    Note that Fiverr is working with Amazon to resolve the issue.....

    1. DasEngel profile image60
      DasEngelposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      How do I trust that your intuitions are factual?

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        You can trust whover you like

        In business, it's business-like to manage the risks presented by the competitive environment in which you operate. 

        Like I said - the legal claim is a FACT - I haven't imagined or intuited it!

        The FACT that Facebook is now on Step 2 of a strategy to clean up reviews makes me surmise it's very likely a Step 3 is coming along sometime very soon.

        The obvious next step would be to start paying attention to the reviews on associates websites......

        I'm used to developing risk management strategies for large organisations - and I'm just saying what my response would be.

        Now - with respect to your pictures - is there any hope you might grow out of your "comic responses" anytime soon?  This isn't a kids site!

        1. DasEngel profile image60
          DasEngelposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          What makes you think that whatever you've posted here, are facts? Are you saying that a link to a Guardian article, is substantially enough to make a claim factual?

          1. makingamark profile image74
            makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            "The Guardian" has been around as a reputable broadsheet newspaper in the UK since 1821. How long have you been around?

            So reputable newsgatherers like the BBC, Forbes Magazine, Bloomberg, Sky News, Techcrunch etc etc etc are also all wrong?

            Do grow up!

            Try doing research and clicking links

            A copy of the complaint is on scribd http://www.scribd.com/doc/285422882/Ama … int#scribd and it includes a list of all the names used by those being sued.  Bear in mind the courts have the powers to track all emails used back to their user.

            1. DasEngel profile image60
              DasEngelposted 13 months ago in reply to this

              Have you ever been personally present during any of those proceedings?

              1. makingamark profile image74
                makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                Do you plan to grow up any time soon?

                1. DasEngel profile image60
                  DasEngelposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                  Try the web and you will get many pdf contracts of many WWE wrestlers.

                2. Solaras profile image91
                  Solarasposted 13 months ago in reply to this

                  Ignore him.

  4. DasEngel profile image60
    DasEngelposted 13 months ago

    http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/12702813.jpg

    1. makingamark profile image74
      makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

      for those who post, remove and repost reponses.....

      http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/133563#post2771716

    2. Stacie L profile image89
      Stacie Lposted 13 months ago

      I noticed Craigslist postings looking for people to write paid reviews for Amazon only last week....
      Is this good or bad for Amazon...it gets more  sales but are there too many returns?

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        Paid reviews are what Amazon do NOT want - it undermines the credibility and authenticity of their ratings and makes them less credible as an online retailer. Amazon will be going all out to nail every fake review and fake reviewer.

        This is what the legal claim states

        "a very small minority of sellers and manufacturers sometimes tries to gain unfair competitive advantages for their products on Amazon.com. One such method is creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews. 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 strictly prohibits any attempt to manipulate customer reviews and expressly prohibits compensated reviews. Nonetheless, an unhealthy ecosystem has developed outside of Amazon to supply reviews in exchange for payment."

        The "big boys' like Amazon (and Disney and Coca Cola) can easily afford to take as many people as they like to court. Amazon will certainly be seeking reinbursement of any monies they received as a result of being paid for reviews. However the real cost to fake reviewers will be the VERY HEFTY court costs - they will be liable for both their own and Amazon's - not nice!

        Here's another extract

        2. That the Court enter an Order declaring that defendants hold in trust, as constructive trustees for the benefit of Amazon, their illegal profits gained from the sale of fake reviews, and requiring defendants to provide Amazon with a full and complete accounting of all amounts obtained as a result of defendants’ illegal activities;

        3. That the Court enter an Order instructing defendants, jointly and severally, to pay Amazon’s general, special, actual and statutory damages, including treble damages  pursuant to R.C.W. Ch. 19.86;

        4. That the Court Order defendants to pay Amazon both the cost of this action and attorneys’ fees incurred in prosecuting this action


        The legal claim news is new.  Sounds to me like the scammers have just moved on from Fiverr to a different site. I imagine Craigslist will be doing something about them pretty soon - they certainly won't want to be sued by Amazon!

    3. calculus-geometry profile image85
      calculus-geometryposted 13 months ago

      Here is the full text of the complaint filed with the King County court in WA state

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/285422882/Amazon-Complaint

    4. Millionaire Tips profile image90
      Millionaire Tipsposted 13 months ago

      I've been receiving free products to try out in exchange for a review.  I was reading an Amazon message board and see that there are unscrupulous people who buy or sell reviews for a price, and guarantee high (4 and 5 star) reviews.  I bet that is what Amazon would go after first - fake reviews on their own site that incorrectly skews the ratings.  When I do my reviews, I will give my honest opinion, even if it is a negative one.

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        The point is that the Federal regulations re ecommerce and on online reviews REQUIRE you to state that you have received the product to review - AND your review should not be influenced by the fact that you got it for free

        i.e. it should be legal, decent and truthful

        and the reader should be absolutely aware of the fact that you did NOT buy the product

        They cracked down on all of this a while back when lots of bloggers were posting reviews as if they had actually bought the product for real and were actually experienced in using it.

        Not sure what happens if you breach the Fed rules but I'm sure it's not nice nor cheap!

      2. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        You think Amazon isn't watching all the comments about Amazon reviews on bulletin boards around the internet? wink  I should imagine they're all over them.

        Plus as soon as they start legal proceedings they can force the release of personal data relating to the people making the comments.......  There is no privacy when people break the law.

        They could even be reading this one! smile

        1. Millionaire Tips profile image90
          Millionaire Tipsposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          I hope they do watch the forums - especially the one on their own message board.

          I don't like the fake reviews either.  Some of them are easy to spot, but not all of them are as obvious. I would hate to buy a product only to find out that I had been steered by people who had been paid to say positive things.

          I give my honest opinion, and do say so when I don't like a product. I think the consumer can make a decision when they are informed - then they can choose if the drawback of the product is something that matters to them or not.

          1. makingamark profile image74
            makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

            That's absolutely the way it should be - no matter which site the review is posted on.

      3. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image95
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I have heard that you can do this.  Do they come from Amazon or from specific retailers?  If they come from retailers, you may be taking a chance doing this.   I don't think it's worth it due to the risks...even if you are being honest.  How would Amazon know?

        1. makingamark profile image74
          makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

          Who is the "they" you refer to?

    5. WryLilt profile image87
      WryLiltposted 13 months ago

      Thank goodness Amazon is finally taking notice. I often check Amazon reviews before I buy things from the shop. Some products have nothing but (very obviously) fake reviews and it's annoying to try and wade through them to find legitimate information.

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        I totally, totally agree - and it's been really annoying to see Amazon being gamed by marketers.

        I'm all for anything which brings back the genuine voice of the consumer.

    6. makingamark profile image74
      makingamarkposted 13 months ago

      Engadget has an interesting take on this topic - see Amazon sues 1,114 people offering fake product reviews

      The internet retailer has sued 1,144 people who used Fiverr's gig marketplace to peddle bogus Amazon reviews. They're only mentioned in the lawsuit by their user names, but it's clear that Amazon wants to get their real info from Fiverr's logs. Moreover, it suspects that there's more to the story than some unscrupulous writing -- it wants these sellers' client lists.

      If they get hold of the client names this will become a very big story....

      I should imagine there's a lot of very worried clients out there and/or a lot of virtual and digital shredding going on......

    7. Mark Ewbie profile image83
      Mark Ewbieposted 13 months ago

      In other news...

      Amazon tries to rebuild customer trust in its review system just before Xmas.

      1. makingamark profile image74
        makingamarkposted 13 months ago in reply to this

        It might do better to build customer confidence in its delivery system! smile

        Didn't it and one or two other major retailers get clobbered in marketing terms by their delivery arrangements letting them down last year? http://www.theguardian.com/business/201 … ry-backlog

        Nonetheless - the more people buy online the more the review systems need to demonstrate integrity and authenticity. Amazon can't afford to be damaged by fake reviews....

     
    working