Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Amazon tech product listings flooded with 'fake' reviews, says Which?

Amazon 'flooded by fake five-star reviews' - Which? report Beware of Fake Reviews Before Buying Products on Amazon
Russell Knight | 19 April, 2019, 13:16

Which? looked at hundreds of tech products listed on Amazon including headphones, smart watches, and fitness trackers and found that numerous top-rated products in each category, which were from seemingly "unknown" brands, had unverified reviews and five-star ratings.

Tens of thousands of overwhelmingly positive reviews were discovered from unverified purchasers - meaning they are much more likely to be fake.

"We use a combination of teams of investigators and automated technology to prevent and detect inauthentic reviews at scale, and to take action against the bad actors behind the abuse", the statement continued.

One of the biggest e-commerce companies in the world, Amazon said it invests a lot of resources in making sure reviews are authentic and help customers in their shopping experience.

Amazon has said that "even one inauthentic review is one too many". In one example illustrating the power of the technique, the group searched for "headphones" only to find 100% of the results for the highest-rated products related to "unknown" brands.

It said 71% of products on the first headphones page had flawless five-star reviews, and 87% of products were not confirmed as Amazon purchases.

Do filter the reviews to exclude unverified reviews.

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Check the dates - look at when the reviews were posted.

- All of the fake reviews will be unverified.

Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: "Amazon must do more to purge its websites of unreliable and fake reviews if it is to maintain the trust of its millions of customers".

Often a "telltale sign" of fake reviews, the existence of many positive, unverified reviews should cause the consumer to question the legitimacy.

"This makes fake reviews a serious problem - at best they could mislead you into buying a product that's not as good as it appeared, at worse you could end up with something that's not even fit for objective". The Competition and Markets Authority estimates that roughly $30 billion (£23 billion) a year of consumer spending is influenced by online reviews. "We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and we suspend, ban and take legal action on those who violate our policies".

ReviewMeta "believed every five-star unverified review of the top 10 pairs of headphones when sorted by average customer review was fake", Which? wrote.

But the glut of such reviews risks undermining public confidence in Amazon as a platform, especially as "social proof" measures become even more important to consumers.

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