Amazon is proving that the retailer isn’t sitting idly by while folks on Fiverr sell fake Amazon reviews. As reported by TechCrunch, Amazon has filed a lawsuit against 1,114 people on Fiverr who have sold fake reviews — which can range from Kindle book reviews, product reviews or even Amazon app reviews.
Previously, Amazon had sued websites that sold fake Amazon reviews, reported the BBC. The Fiverr lawsuit from Amazon might claim that Amazon has listed a bunch of “John Does” in their lawsuit; however, the “Exhibit A” listed in the public lawsuit from Amazon contains what could be real names of folks on Fiverr.
Buying fake Amazon reviews has long been an open secret that various Amazon sellers have made a part of their marketing plans in order to bring buzz to their products and books. A review titled “The Secret He Left Out” on the Amazon product page of New York Times best-selling author John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months book pointed to the practice of fake review buying and selling.
As reported by the New York Times in the article titled, “The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy,” Locke spoke of using a now-defunct website to purchase the “Verified Purchase” Amazon reviews to give his book legitimacy and help push it up the Amazon ranks and get people talking about it — good or bad.
“One thing that made a difference is not mentioned in How I Sold One Million E-Books. That October, Mr. Locke commissioned Mr. Rutherford to order reviews for him, becoming one of the fledgling service’s best customers. “I will start with 50 for $1,000, and if it works and if you feel you have enough readers available, I would be glad to order many more,” he wrote in an Oct. 13 e-mail to Mr. Rutherford. ‘I’m ready to roll.’
“Mr. Locke was secure enough in his talents to say that he did not care what the reviews said. ‘If someone doesn’t like my book,’ he instructed, ‘they should feel free to say so.’ He also asked that the reviewers make their book purchases directly from Amazon, which would then show up as an ‘Amazon verified purchase’ and increase the review’s credibility.
“In a phone interview from his office in Louisville, Ky., Mr. Locke confirmed the transaction. ‘I wouldn’t hesitate to buy reviews from people that were honest,’ he said. Even before using GettingBookReviews.com, he experimented with buying attention through reviews. ‘I reached out every way I knew to people to try to get them to read my books.'”
Like many Amazon authors, Locke wanted five-star reviews, and once he enacted his review-buying, Locke sold 15,000 eBooks in December 2010. While some view John’s actions as innovative, others decry the purchase of Amazon reviews, which is against the retailer’s terms of service.
In the lawsuit against the Fiverr sellers, Amazon asks that the Fiverr sellers cease and desist from selling Amazon reviews through the Fiverr service. Also, Amazon is asking Fiverr to give Amazon enough information to determine those Amazon reviews that were created due to being sold, and the Amazon/Fiverr accounts of those folks who sold fake reviews. No doubt, Amazon wants to shut down those accounts determined to have sold many fake Amazon reviews via Fiverr.
Plenty of Fiverr fake Amazon review sellers are likely pouring through Amazon’s “prayer for relief” listed in the lawsuit, as well as the list of the 1,114 Fiverr account names, to see if they are listed and what specific damages or dollar amounts Amazon is seeking from the Fiverr sellers.
Read the actual Amazon Review Complaint below, which contains the entire list of the 1,114 Fiverr sellers being sued by Amazon.
[Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images News]