On Amazon, customer comments can help a product surge in popularity. The online retail giant says that more than 99 percent of its reviews are legitimate because they are written by real shoppers who aren’t paid for them.
Yeah, right. Sure they are real customers.
According to the Mercury News, an examination found that for some popular product categories, such as bluetooth headphones and speakers, the vast majority of reviews appear to violate Amazon’s prohibition on paid reviews. They have certain characteristics, such as repetitive wording that people likely cut and paste in.
To the surprise of no one, many of these fraudulent reviews originate on Facebook, where sellers seek shoppers on dozens of networks, including Amazon Review Club and Amazon Reviewers Group, to give glowing feedback in exchange for money or other compensation.
The practice artificially inflates the ranking of thousands of products, experts say, misleading consumers.
Amazon banned paying for reviews a year and a half ago because of research it conducted showing that consumers distrust paid reviews.
That apparently didn’t stop Facebook.
Suspicious or fraudulent reviews are crowding out authentic ones in some categories, according to research using ReviewMeta data. ReviewMeta examines red flags, such as an unusually large number of reviews that spike over a short period of time or “sock puppet” reviewers who appear to have cut and paste stock language.
Incentivized reviewers give higher ratings than non-paid reviewers, according to ReviewMeta. The result is that consumers could unknowingly be purchasing poorer quality products.
Basically, the reviews are just a lie. Facebook and Amazon are just a lie.