In a move that could prove beneficial for both brands and consumers alike, Amazon recently filed a lawsuit against two fake-review brokers, AppSally and Rebatest. These companies connect consumers with third-party sellers to leave fake reviews of products on the Amazon marketplace generally in exchange for products or cash.
Fake reviews are a growing and ubiquitous problem on Amazon. Indeed, Amazon’s investigation revealed the two alleged fake-review brokers collectively have more than 900,000 individuals willing to write fake reviews. In most cases, small payments – some roughly as low as $20 – were offered in exchange for these reviews. Amazon also alleged that the fake-review brokers implemented schemes to ensure that all reviews were “verified reviews” making them more impactful under Amazon’s search algorithm.
An Amazon official said in a statement that:
“Fake review brokers attempt to profit by deceiving unknowing consumers and creating an unfair competitive advantage that harms our selling partners both for consumers seeking out the best products and for brands.”
While eliminating fake reviews will certainly help consumers, it will also provide a huge benefit to brands (or at least those brands who sell in an honest and fair manner). Receiving positive reviews on Amazon is crucial, since reviews can impact where a product lands on a search results page and factor into determining whether a product receives an Amazon’s Choice badge. Fewer fake reviews will result in a more level and competitive playing field.
While this lawsuit is a step in the right direction, AppSally and Rebatest are not the only fake-review brokers that exist in the current digital marketplace. Therefore, to the extent this lawsuit is successful, it will unfortunately not result in an imminent end to fake reviews. KJK will be closely monitoring this situation and will keep you updated with any developments in this case.
If your brand has issues with fake reviews or with one of the other multiple pitfalls of selling on the Amazon Marketplace, such as unauthorized resellers or gray-market goods, contact KJK eCommerce Attorney Alex Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org; 216-736-7241).