Amazon Deleted 20,000 Product Reviews After Investigation Revealed Paid-For Reviews
Amazon.com has removed 20,000 product reviews after a Financial Times (FT) investigation suggested that some of the site's top U.K. reviewers may have profited from leaving positive ratings, reports Business Insider. The paper's analysis showed nine of Amazon's top 10 U.K. reviewers dished out five-star reviews to products from little-known Chinese brands. The FT found the same products in Facebook groups and forums that offer free products or money in exchange for ratings. Amazon deleted around 20,000 reviews from seven of these users just hours after the paper's report on Friday. Amazon also removed thousands of ratings analyzed in a study into paid-for reviews by the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Total Retail's Take: Amazon has found itself in hot water once again over fraudulent customer reviews posted to its site. Tackling online fraud and abuse can be extremely difficult for e-commerce retailers, especially at the size and scale of Amazon. The retailer's third-party marketplace is expansive and difficult to monitor, leading to a crackdown on online counterfeit goods by the federal government earlier this year. Amazon's fake reviews problem has persisted for years, and even though the e-commerce giant claims to have intelligent systems in place to prevent such reviews abuse, consumers may remain skeptical. Ensuring customer reviews are authentic should be top of mind for retailers, as fake reviews erode customer trust and may cause shoppers to stop purchasing from the brand. With consumer sentiment on the line, Amazon must continue to work towards gaining control of its user review process and ensure that posted customer reviews can be trusted when consumers are making purchase decisions.
Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Women in Retail Leadership Circle and sister brand Total Retail. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for both brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment recording interviews with retailers.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.