Leaked database uncovers scheme involving hundreds of thousands of people involved in fake Amazon reviews. How reliable are product reviews in online stores? It’s a question that makes more and more sense to ask yourself. A recently leaked database reveals the huge number of reviews on Amazon that are not 100% genuine and are done to obtain discounts or free products. This is not the first time such schemes have been uncovered.
Leaked database uncovers scheme involving hundreds of thousands of people involved in fake Amazon reviews
As revealed by Safety Detectives, they recently found a database on the data servers that shows how this fake review organization works and who is involved. The database contained over 7GB of data with over 200,000 users involved and 13 million records with messages between vendors and users.
The fake review scheme was designed to get the stores involved to obtain positive or 5-star reviews on their products and gain the trust of other shoppers. In return, they rewarded those who left the fake reviews with refunds or discounts.
According to Safety Detectives, the process involves suppliers choosing which products they want to have positive reviews. From there the users involved sign up to participate and then purchase these products on Amazon. After receiving the product they wait a few days and then post a positive review on Amazon about the purchase and the product. After that, they contact the seller showing evidence of the review and a PayPal account. The seller in turn refunds the purchase money to the user and the user keeps the product.
With this process for Amazon, everything is “in order”. Since the refund transaction has taken place outside of their platform and there is no contact with the seller through Amazon other than the purchase itself, it appears to Amazon as a legitimate purchase and there is no reason to question its validity. For Amazon, it appears to be a legitimate purchase and there is no reason to question its validity. The result? Fake reviews of the product. Does this work? More than we think.
According to Amazon, they have “a team of investigators” and a series of “machine learning tools” that together can “analyze more than 10 million reviews weekly” to detect those that do not comply with their policy.
“We have clear policies for both the people who write product reviews and our business partners; those policies prohibit tampering with our community features. We take action against those who violate our policies that may involve suspending or deleting their accounts or initiating legal action.
Our goal is to ensure that customers see authentic and relevant reviews so they can make better-informed purchasing decisions. To do this, we use machine learning tools and have a team of researchers who analyze more than 10 million reviews weekly to stop reviews that don’t meet our requirements before they are published.
In addition, we monitor all existing reviews for signs of inappropriate behavior and take action quickly if we find a problem. We also work proactively with the various social networks to report those actors who are generating misleading reviews outside of our store.
We encourage customers concerned about the authenticity of reviews you may see on a product to use the ‘Report Abuse’ feature, available on each of these reviews, so we can investigate and take appropriate action.”
In other words, according to the company, they make it clear in their policy that they prohibit pay-for-reviews and are working to detect reviews that may happen. For now, they have not commented anything about the specific case that we will tell you about in the next section or about what happened specifically in this case.
Sellers like Aukey completely discontinued
While there is no official confirmation, some popular vendors have recently been disabled on the Amazon store as indicated by Matthew Brennan. Prominent among them are such popular brands as Aukey. There is no official reason from either Amazon or Aukey, although all indications are that it is due to the leak of the fake review scheme. Currently, no Aukey products are available on Amazon in several countries around the world.
Aukey is a brand of accessories that has built a name for itself based on products for cell phones and other devices over the past few years. These products are mainly sold on Amazon, rather than in physical stores or Aukey’s stores. With this descatálogo, Aukey is left without one of its main distribution channels, if not the most important.