AI Tells the Dangers of Having it Write Amazon Reviews

May 18, 2023

Amazon has been at war with unscrupulous actors and a new contender just entered the battlefield. An examination of various sites reveals the presence of AI-generated reviews. These reviews consistently incorporate the statement “As an AI language model,” a frequently encountered response generated by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, accompanied by generic descriptions of the respective products.

AI language models are extremely sophisticated and when used appropriately, can be a great resource and a trusted tool for both individuals and businesses. In an effort to highlight the capabilities of these language models, we have integrated specified prompts generated by AI into the body of this article. Our audience can experience firsthand the sophistication of AI language models while also understanding the risks and concerns surrounding the misuse of such technology.

Fake Reviews from Unscrupulous Sellers

Reviews posted online have become essential for sellers in the eCommerce space. The issue with fake reviews is not one that’s new. In fact, Amazon has started an all-out legal war against these unscrupulous individuals to protect their valuable sellers from fake reviews generated by both people and AI. Furthermore, KJK attorneys are at the forefront to keep you informed and are here to offer thoughtful and practical guidance on how to protect your e-commerce business.

Insight Generated from ChatGPT: As the internet has become a critical component of commerce, online reviews have become an essential factor in many consumers’ purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers and their partners use fake reviews generated by language models like me, ChatGPT, to deceive consumers and harm competitors. Our law firm specializes in representing sellers injured by these fraudulent practices.

How are Fake Reviews Used?

These reviews are not just fraudulent sellers using ChatGPT to write reviews, they are review brokers who have built a business around these fraudulent reviews. The use of AI allows these brokers to include specific keywords and phrases to either boost sales or hurt them. Although, the reviews of ChatGPT may stick out (they all include the phrase “language model”). After slight editing before posting, a polished and comprehensive review is made faster than a human unfamiliar with the product could accomplish within the same timeframe. All the while, hurting hardworking businesses and duping consumers.

Insight Generated from ChatGPT: Fraudulent sellers create fake accounts on e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay to generate fake reviews, which are composed of positive feedback to promote their products and negative reviews for their competitors. Using language models like me, these sellers create text that seems to be authentic reviews written by real customers.

The fake reviews are designed to contain specific keywords and phrases to boost the product’s visibility and ratings, which can lead to higher sales and profits. The fraudulent sellers may also use bots and other tools to manipulate search rankings and deceive consumers further.

Why is it Illegal?

Fake reviews are both deceptive and illegal, and for good measure. The utilization of fake reviews poses a significant threat to consumers and threatens the integrity of the brand’s reputation. Fake reviews are designed to mislead potential customers and can manipulate market dynamics. In an effort to emphasize the importance of fair competition and promote transparency, Ohio and several other states have passed their version the federal INFORM Consumers Act, which defines these illegal actions and provides protection to consumers and sellers.

Insight Generated from ChatGPT: These practices violate several laws, including deceptive advertising practices, unfair competition, and false advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has specific guidelines on endorsements and testimonials, which state that any endorsement or testimonial must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences of the endorser. The generated text from language models like me does not reflect the honest opinions or experiences of the endorser and is therefore considered misleading to consumers.

What are the Consequences?

The consequences of fake reviews are two-fold:

  • Consumers are more inclined to purchase lower quality untested products because they have more reviews.
  • Sellers with reputable quality products are going to have lower overall reviews because of falsified reviews.

ChatGPT writing the review does not make either of these problems worse; however, fake reviews generated by AI can significantly increase the speed at which authorship occurs. With minimal changes, they can be written in a way that checks all the boxes for the Amazon Algorithms. Consumers across a wide variety of products may be impacted, since review brokers no longer need to research key terms, browse nodes, and anything else for the review to hit the algorithm; ChatGPT already did it.

Insight Generated from ChatGPT: Fake reviews can have significant consequences for both consumers and businesses. Consumers who rely on these fake reviews may purchase products that do not meet their expectations or even cause harm, leading to negative reviews and reputational damage for honest sellers.

For sellers, these fake reviews can have devastating effects on their businesses, including reduced sales and profits, reputational damage, and increased costs to compete. Our law firm represents sellers injured by these fraudulent practices, helping them recover lost profits, damages for reputational harm, and other remedies.

What Can You do?

The best thing you can do is be informed and alert! Know what these AI reviews look like, and continue to monitor your reviews for any suspicious or fraudulent reviews. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is in your best interest to monitor the reviews of products you interact with. If you are a buyer of reputable products, report fake reviews to the seller. And if you are the seller, contact an experienced attorney to discuss what options you may have. It may be sufficient to solve it through reports to Amazon, but it may be in your best interest to seek legal action.

Insight Generated from ChatGPT: As a seller, it’s crucial to monitor your product listings and customer feedback and report fraudulent activity to the e-commerce platform’s authorities. Seeking legal representation can help you recover damages and prevent future harm from fraudulent practices.

As a consumer, it’s essential to be aware of the existence of fake reviews and to use multiple sources of information when making purchasing decisions. You can also report suspected fake reviews to the platform’s authorities to help prevent others from being deceived.

Next Steps…

Artificial Intelligence is new to the game, it is breaking the rules, and it is unlikely to go away anytime soon. At KJK we are staying ahead of the game and keeping you informed. If your brand is facing issues with fake reviews, please contact KJK Partner Jon Groza (JWG@kjk.com; 216.736.7241) or another attorney within KJK’s eCommerce and Brand Enforcement practice group.