Amazon has filed a third lawsuit against allegedly fraudulent reviewers leaving fake reviews. This time, Amazon has named five new websites that offer sellers glowing reviews of their products for a price.
CNET reported that Amazon novelists looking to jump start business on the e-commerce website can do so by paying PaidBookReviews.org $2,200 for a package of 100 book reviews. This is one of the five new websites Amazon sued in Washington state court on Friday as part of the website’s campaign to locate and remove all fake reviews on the website.
Amazon sues ‘Buy Amazon Reviews’ and four other sites in new crackdown on bogus reviews https://t.co/aBuIQ8wqHI— Richard Hay (@WinObs) April 26, 2016
Since last April, Amazon has filed three different lawsuits which target more than 1,000 alleged fake reviewers. Several of the websites Amazon has sued as part of this campaign have already shut down. A spokeswoman for Amazon reported that the lawsuits have made it easier for Amazon to not only go after these fraudulent companies but also the individual reviewers who are being paid by the company to leave fake reviews on the website. This, in return, is resulting in Amazon banning tons of reviewers and sellers from using their website.
“We will continue to pursue legal action against the root cause of reviews abuse — the sellers and manufacturers who create the demand for fraudulent reviews.”
This campaign is part of Amazon’s huge interest in making sure its customer base, which consists of millions of customers, can trust the five-star review system Amazon has in place. The goal of the reviews on Amazon is to let buyers know how great or crummy a product is before they make a purchase. Amazon continues to reassure customers only a small fraction of reviews on the website are fake. Amazon claims to have a system in place it uses to spot and remove fake reviews. Amazon, unfortunately, may have a long battle ahead, as new paid review websites seem to continue to pop up as the old ones are being shut down.
It was exactly a year ago in April of 2015 when Amazon filed its first lawsuit against reviewers leaving fake reviews on the website. This was the first time the company had taken legal action against this practice. In October of 2015, Amazon filed a second lawsuit that targeted over 1,000 sellers on a website called Fiverr, a website that allows people to sell strange jobs and odd services for just $5. Amazon learned that a large number of sellers were offering to leave a glowing review in exchange for $5. Amazon spent time going undercover to catch these fake reviewers in the act.
In the lawsuit Amazon filed on Friday, Jane John-Nwankwo, a resident of California who owns and operates PaidBookReviews.org, has been sued. The lawsuit is also suing Chris Embry, a resident of New York, who is alleged to be the CEO of AmazonVerifiedReviews.com. Amazon is also suing the operators of ReviewConnections.com, AmazonReviewStar.com, and BuyAmazonReviews.info. Unfortunately, Amazon has not been able to identify who owns the other three websites. AmazonVerifiedReviews.com does appear to be registered under Chris Embry’s name as well, according to CNET.
Amazon is suing these websites and individuals for trademark infringement as well as several other claims. Amazon is requesting these websites to stop using Amazon’s trademark. They want these websites to stop offering reviews on Amazon to sellers in exchange for cash. Amazon is also asking these websites to help reveal individual reviewers who are being paid by these companies (or being paid directly by the sellers) to leave reviews in exchange for payment.
Amazon Sues Five Sites Promising Reviews For Cash https://t.co/2Yt6FFeN0P— consumerist (@consumerist) April 26, 2016
According to Amazon’s terms of usage, sellers are allowed to run promotions to get honest and unbiased reviews from buyers. The terms state that the seller must make it clear that the promotion is for an honest and unbiased review. The reviewer must also leave a disclaimer in the review stating that the idea was received free (or at a discount) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Reviewing products on Amazon is a hobby a large number of people enjoy, and there are ways to do it honestly. First, never taken payment for the review. Make sure the seller is giving you a promo code and not a gift card code. When you paste the code into the checkout to purchase the item, it should tell you whether it was a promotion or a gift card. If it is a gift card, you should not make the purchase, as this can get your account in trouble. Purchasing an item with a gift card and then leaving a review is the same as being paid to leave a review in the eyes of Amazon’s terms of usage regarding creating reviews on the products.
Amazon review groups on Facebook encourage reviewers to purchase items at full price and leave reviews on those items in-between items purchased at a discount for review in order to create a balance and avoid having the account banned from continuing to leave reviews.
Amazon has made it clear that customers can trust their review system and that they will not tolerate the exchange of cash for reviews.
[Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images]