In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal notes that Amazon’s e-commerce platform is still largely populated by fake reviews and inflated product ratings, giving customers an inaccurate view of product quality.
The Wall Street Journal reports in an article titled “Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings Are Still a Problem for Amazon,” that many Amazon sellers are still offering monetary incentives to customers and purchasing fake reviews in order to boost the rating of their products.
The WSJ provided an example of these practices, writing:
A charging brick recently caught my eye on Amazon. It was a RAVPower-branded two-port fast charger, and it had five stars with over 9,800 ratings. The score seemed suspect but Amazon itself was the seller, so I added it to my cart anyway.
The device arrived a day later, along with a clue to all that customer satisfaction. A small orange insert offered a $35 gift card—roughly half of the product’s price—with instructions on how to redeem the gift: “Email us A. Your order ID (screenshot) B. Your review URL (or screenshot).”
Since the fast-charging tech is new to the market, “We want to see how people like it,” said Donny Dong, vice president of sales at Sunvalley, the parent of RAVPower. He said the company didn’t force customers to leave five stars in order to claim a gift card.
An Amazon spokesperson informed the WSJ that this practice violates the company’s policy which bans sellers from offering financial rewards for reviews. Amazon has added 50 million Prime members and made profits of over $26 billion since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, more than the previous three years combined.
But as the company has grown and Amazon purchases increased, so did review manipulation. Sellers have begun taking advantage of the online shopping craze using new methods to increase ratings on products ranging from cordless vacuums to toilet paper holders.
For shoppers, this means that they can no longer fully trust a “five star” rated item. An Amazon spokesperson said that the company analyzes 10 million reviews a month using a combination of human moderators and machine-learning tools to stop review manipulation. “We will continue to innovate to ensure customers can trust that every review on Amazon is authentic and relevant,” a spokesperson said.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org