- Amazon UK removed around 20,000 suspicious review posts from its platform.
- As per FT's investigation, 9 out of 10 top ranked reviewers in the UK were engaged in suspicious behaviour.
- 5-star reviews were posted every 4 hours by Justin Fryer, number one ranked reviewer on Amazon.co.uk.
Amazon has taken down around 20,000 reviews from its platform after a report by FT revealed that the posts or reviews were of suspicious nature. The report found that Justin Fryer, the number one ranked reviewer on Amazon.co.uk, reviewed 15,000 pounds worth of products. These include smartphones, electric scooters, gym equipment, etc.
Fryer is found to have sent 5-star reviews every four hours on the platform for little-known Chinese products. As per the report, such brands send reviewers products for free in exchange for positive reviews. The report further noted that many of the goods appeared to have sold on ebay, leading Fryer to make 20,000 pounds.
Amazon's community guidelines prohibit "creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else." Following the investigation, Amazon removed around 20,000 reviews from its platform.
Fryer, however denied posting paid-for reviews, he further stated that the markings on ebay for unused and unopened products were for duplicates. Fryer then removed his review history followed by two other top-10 ranked Amazon UK reviewers.
As per the report, 9 out of 10 top ranked reviewers were engaged in suspicious behaviour. The report cites Fakespot, a review analysis group, which found that 59 per cent of products on Amazon were accompanied by fake reviews in the month of May, when there was a surge in online buyers. "The scale of this fraud is amazing," Fakespot CEO Saoud Khalifah told the Financial Times. "Amazon UK has a much higher percentage of fake reviews than the other platforms."
As per a report by the Verge, such scams begin on social networks and messaging apps, where companies can meet potential reviewers. Once the connection is made, the reviewer chooses a free product, then waits a few days to write a five-star review. After the review is posted, they get a full refund, and, at times, an extra payment.
An Amazon spokesperson told The Verge that the company analyses reviews before they go public, processing 10 million submissions every week. "We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant," they said. "We have clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners that prohibit abuse of our community features, and we suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who violate these policies."