Fake Review Brokers & Amazon: A Legal Battle
Fake review brokers are said to work on over 11,000 social media groups and websites to construct counterfeit reviews on online platforms, such as Amazon, in exchange for fees or free items.
They affect all types of businesses – including successful internet giants like Amazon who last year took two brokers based in Spain and Italy to court for the first time, whilst ten cases were recently carried out in the US.
The case in Italy consisted of a high-profile fake review broker who oversaw a large network of individuals who were willing to purchase items and published 5-star reviews for a full refund.
Similarly in Spain, Amazon filed its first civil complaint against Agencia Reviews which targeted consumers willing to buy products on its site and post five-star reviews in exchange for a full refund.
And in Germany, Amazon sent warning letters to five websites involved in the selling of fake reviews, who agreed to stop this activity.
These legal cases are important developments as it demonstrates that eCommerce giants are starting to take fake reviews seriously.
Some examples of fake review brokers
Scan our list of typical fake review brokers below:
- Media Mister
- Global Like
- Reviews Fund
- Promoting Team
- Best Social Plan
- Goldstar Marketing UK
Are there any repercussions?
Until recently, there haven’t been any repercussions for fake review brokers. However, some countries, such as the UK, India, the US, and Australia, are in the process of introducing new legislation to stop this practice. You can read all about the impending UK legislation in our blog on the subject.
Going a step further, Ireland has already made fake online reviews illegal under a new Irish consumer protection legislation. Under the 2022 Consumer Rights Act, businesses will be punished for publishing fake reviews or for paying individuals to do so on their behalf. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission will enforce this.
Our research has found that 48% of people in the UK and US ‘always’ or ‘often’ consult online reviews when making purchase decisions, though some research puts it as high as 93%. Online reviews are critical to how we spend our hard-earned money.
Fake reviews continue to pose issues for consumers and businesses. Consumers want to purchase quality items that are based on genuine reputations and legitimate companies want to retain trust at a time when trust is eroding. With the introduction of new legislation and with it severe consequences for perpetrators, we hope to see this practice decrease
Written by Ella Patenall on January 25, 2023