Amazon is suing more than 1,000 people for advertising their services writing fake reviews for as little as USD 5 as it seeks to crack down on bogus reviews on its site.
The complaint filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle marks the latest effort by the online powerhouse to crack down on fraud on its site. Online shoppers are increasingly reliant on consumer-generated reviews on everything on Uber rides to hotel rooms to buying iPhone cases on Amazon.
About 45 percent of consumers consider product reviews when weighing an online purchase, compared to 31 percent of consumers that consider product information, according to Forrester Research.
So retailers have tried to crack down on paid-for bogus reviews in a variety of ways. In April, Amazon sued several sites that offered to produce reviews. In the current litigation, the company is going after writers of the reviews themselves who have accounts on freelance marketplace Fiverr.com. They don’t name them in the complaint because they’re working to determine their identities.
Amazon says the writers of the fake reviews are liable for breach of contract because they violated Amazon’s terms of service.
In a statement Amazon said the complaint is not against Fiverr.com but against individuals selling reviews and says the vast majority of the reviews on its site are authentic.
“The challenge of merchants soliciting illegitimate reviews is one that faces all marketplaces and online platforms,” Fiverr said in a statement. “In fact, in our own marketplace we restrict reviews to only those who we can verify have actually purchased a service.”