Amazon has filed suit against the alleged operator of several sites that offer Amazon sellers the ability to purchase fake 4- and 5-star customer reviews of their products.
The suit, the first of its kind from the Seattle company, was filed in King County Superior Court against a California man, Jay Gentile, identified in Amazon’s filings as the operator of sites including buyazonreviews.com, buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net and buyreviewsnow.com. The site also targets unidentified “John Does” also believed to be involved in the scheme.
The case is part of a broader effort by the company to crack down on fake reviews.
“While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand,” the suit says. “Amazon strictly prohibits any attempt to manipulate customer reviews and actively polices its website to remove false, misleading, and inauthentic reviews.
“Despite substantial efforts to stamp out the practice, an unhealthy ecosystem is developing outside of Amazon to supply inauthentic reviews,” the suit adds. “Defendants’ businesses consist entirely of selling such reviews.”
According to the suit, the sites operated by Gentile offer to provide fake “verified reviews” for a premium, telling the sellers that they can ship empty boxes to reviewers involved in the scheme, to trick Amazon into thinking that the product had actually been purchased.
Link to the rest at GeekWire and thanks to Randall and several others for the tip.