Amazon Sues Four Paid Review Sites

April 13th, 2015 by James

Amazon has sued four firms that pay people to produce reviews that later appear on site of the online retailer. It was alleged by Amazon that the paid opinions “undermine” its review system that customers believe come from unbiased sources.

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Amazon is seeking damages from the four sites (buyazonreviews.com, buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net, and buyreviewsnow.com) and wants them to stop producing the reviews. The sites pay between $19-$22 (£13-£15) for each review that typically result in products getting a four or five star rating.

“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,” said the retailer in documents filed to the court in Washington.

Amazon accused the sites of violations of local consumer protection statutes and cybersquatting laws and of trademark infringement. The company alleged paid reviews were being placed on its site at a slow rate so that the detection system can be outwitted.

Mark Collins, who runs the Buy Amazon Reviews site, said his site did not provide “fake” reviews but provided “unbiased and honest” opinions about products.

Consumer websites like Yelp! and Amazon.com depend heavily on user-generated content and reviews and therefore make efforts to crack down on paid and fake reviews.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), online endorsements and testimonials cannot be purposely misleading. Its mission is to rid the marketplace of “unfair and deceptive marketing” and the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to both fine and shut down operations.

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