Reports: Fake reviews are a growing problem on Amazon, Google
Facebook is reportedly the source of some of the fake review solicitations.
As reviews have grown in importance, so have efforts to game the system. The problem is growing on both Google Maps and Amazon, according to third-party analysis and reporting.
A report yesterday in The Washington Post found that the buying of fake reviews by merchants hoping to boost sales of their products is a widespread problem on Amazon. According to the report:
[F]or some popular product categories, such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers, the vast majority of reviews appear to violate Amazon’s prohibition on paid reviews . . .
Many of these fraudulent reviews originate on Facebook, where sellers seek shoppers on dozens of networks, including Amazon Review Club and Amazon Reviewers Group, to give glowing feedback in exchange for money or other compensation. The practice artificially inflates the ranking of thousands of products, experts say, misleading consumers.
The Post says “many of these fraudulent reviews originate on Facebook.” Accordingly, fake review solicitation becomes another variation on the “fake news” problem for the company.
The Post’s investigation also found that in some categories (e.g., bluetooth headphones) on Amazon, fake reviews comprised at least half of all reviews. Positive reviews influence consumer buying and visibility on the site.