Which?, a brand name which is associated to a Consumers Association based in the United Kingdom has made a startling revelation yesterday that some retailers were seen abusing the user-friendly features of Amazon’s security systems to post fake reviews in order to spike sales of their products.
The discovery was made after scrutinizing 1000’s of listing & reviews out of which 90% of reviews were found to be fake.
Which? Research says that Amazon allowed its retailers to offer bribes and gift vouchers to buyers who then boosted the company products with 5 stars.
Some sellers were also found to be hacking into the accounts of users to post fake reviews for products which they haven’t purchased.
In one instance a single prime user was found to be posting 4000 reviews for different products- albeit she did not login for months.
‘Product Variation’ feature of Amazon was also seen helping the hackers in this fraudulent act of posting fake reviews.
Technically speaking, it basically allows legitimate sellers to group reviews for the same product- all in 1 place for different sizes and colors.
But sellers are seen taking help of black hat hackers for creating false variations, allowing them to artificially multiply the number of +ve reviews accredited to the same product.
For instance, the reviews related to SDFLAYER Headphones posted by the same user multiple numbers of times.
Even the product merging feature on Amazon was found to be exploited in a fraudulent way.
A source from ‘Which?’ argued that a certain section of ‘review factory’ group of Facebook was also doing the damage by boosting impulsive +ve reviews for products listed on Amazon.
Although Facebook was notified on the issue by ‘Which?’ last year nothing much has changed in the activities of the group- some even seen making a single post 133 times in an hour.
“Promoting fake reviews on a world-renowned retail online platform was a breach of consumer law and can lead to criminal action against the commerce company”, says Natalie Hitchins, the head of Home Products & Services, Which?
Amazon has already published its set of rules saying any attempt made to manipulate customer reviews will be strictly penalized and prohibited by it. However, the reality seems to be speaking something else!