The Counterfeit Report 

Paid and Fake Product Reviews on Amazon Create an Unreliable and Perilous Online Environment

When negative reviews were left to warn others about fake items, Amazon either blocked or removed them. Conversely, reviewers are incentivized with cash, coupons, or products to leave positive four or five-star reviews for essentially worthless and low-quality garbage products


The Counterfeit Report

Negative reviews are not allowed

June 22, 2023, - Los Angeles, CA – Product reviews are critical to a product's success on Amazon. Unfortunately, unscrupulous sellers have resorted to deceptive tactics, such as paying for positive reviews to manipulate the system and mislead consumers. Consequently, many consumers fall victim to deceptive and fake product reviews on Amazon.

Despite Amazon's claims and promises to combat the notorious corruption in their product review systems, Amazon now endorses third-party paid reviews. Last year, Amazon took action against 200 million fake reviews, illustrating the magnitude of misinformation that harms consumers.

Dharmesh Mehta, the head of the company's customer trust team, acknowledged that consumers were being deceived about the products they should or shouldn't purchase. Yet, Mehta shifted blame away from Amazon's cesspool of fakes, fraud, and scams, pointing out that other specific platforms were inadequately responsive even in obvious cases. He noted that some groups openly advertised themselves as providers of "fake eBay reviews" or "fake Amazon reviews." The Guardian

In 2022, Amazon reported the existence of over 23,000 groups facilitating fake reviews, with a staggering membership and follower count exceeding 46 million on social media platforms and messaging apps. These fake reviews, cleverly crafted to appear genuine, are becoming increasingly difficult to identify and effortless to publish.

According to the Amazon website, Amazon's "Vine Voices" program gives selected reviewers the unique opportunity to order items free of charge and share their product experiences with Amazon customers to help them make "informed" buying decisions. A confusing array of online reports list Vines's cost from $100 to $2500 per unique listing (ASIN). Vendors must provide the products to be evaluated for free.

However, the credibility of Amazon's Vine Voices program is severely undermined by the product reviews of Alan Olivera, an Amazon "Vine Voice" reviewer. All ten five-star reviews for unique Amazon products by Olivera use the identical phrase, "Product works as intended and came with everything in the picture. Works as explained." This highlights a substantial credibility problem with Dharmesh Mehta and the Amazon Vine Voices review program.

In the end, Amazon understands that product reviews help their bottom line when shoppers make a purchase. Amazon claims that sellers participating in the Vine program could help boost sales up to 19% on new or slow-moving products. Still, even cautious buyers aren't getting the full and proper picture. While product reviews play a significant role in consumer purchase decisions, the reviews are no indication of authenticity or quality. Giving out free products or compensation in return for a review. . . that's not an unbiased review. How likely would you be to post a bad review on an item someone gave you for free?

The Counterfeit Report, an acclaimed consumer advocate and industry watchdog, conducted numerous test purchases of counterfeit and fraudulent products, with a significant portion purchased directly from Amazon. However, when negative reviews were left to warn others about the fake items, Amazon either blocked or removed them. Conversely, reviewers are incentivized with cash, coupons, or products to leave positive four or five-star reviews for essentially worthless and low-quality garbage products.

To assess the reliability of product pages and reviews on platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, websites like Fakespot analyze language, previous reviews, and purchase history of reviewers. According to Fakespot, over one-third of online reviews on Amazon are fake. Apple removed Fakespot's iOS app in 2021 in response to Amazon's claim that Fakespot provided misleading information. However, the Fakespot service remains available as an Android app.

The Counterfeit Report

Amazon pressured Apple into removing an app designed to warn others about fake and dangerous products


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