Over the past few weeks we've written about the ease in buying fake social media followers and likes as well as positive reviews on websites like Tripadvisor. Whilst the official information paints a picture of positivity, and tenuous reasons why a brand holder may consider taking such action, it has a much more maleficent motive when it's used to try and promote counterfeit goods.
In a move that is likely to make brand holders potentially think again, Amazon announced last week that it is taking legal action against more than 1,000 individuals that it suspects have been writing fake reviews in exchange for payment. Amazon says its own brand reputation is being tarnished by "false, misleading and inauthentic" reviews and are the first major retailer to take the positive step of trying to eradicate the practice. Their source of information is the well-known website www.Fiverr.com (who the selves are not subject to the court order) where individuals offer a range of services for just $5, including in this case writing five star reviews for products sold via Amazon's Marketplace platform.
Whilst posting of such services is not allowed according to their terms and conditions, Fiverr has also tried to take action based on investigation of IP addresses of infringers. Amazon commented on the action it had a duty to "protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate".
The damage that a false good review can be as damaging to a brand as a genuine bad one. Amazon's actions should not only benefit the authenticity of their platforms but also should make any bad actors who are intent on selling their services in a similar way think twice. That in turn could benefit other brand holders who have suffered at the hands of these 'reviewers for hire'.