US gov cracks down on fake Amazon reviews, but here’s why it won’t work

While the US government has charged one company for buying fake reviews on Amazon, but I don’t see how they’re going to outpace the suppliers.



For the first time since time immemorial, an American company has been charged for purchasing fake Amazon reviews. “People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online,” Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in an FTC press release. “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”

“We welcome the FTC’s work in this area,” an Amazon spokesperson told The Verge. “Amazon invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews in our store because we know customers value the insights and experiences shared by fellow shoppers. Even one inauthentic review is one too many.”

Well, duh.

However, it is a rather large happening. The company in question, Cure Encapsulations, supplementing their weight loss supplements with reviews that gave their snake-oil only the highest of props. The company could end up paying anywhere between $50,000-$12,800,000. Cure Encapsulations will also no longer be able to make any claims about their product unless it backed up with “competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of human clinical testing”.

So, addio.

What this represents, of course, is the first step into the murky jungle of Amazon’s review landscape. It’s a fairly important undertaking, as no-one has dare braved that unknown world before. After all, ascertaining what is truth versus a lie could be tricky. This, of course, reminds me of the old robber versus banker duality. As crime always outpaces measurements to stop it, one can rightly assume that the bogus reviews will now become slightly more subtle.

Psst. You wanna buy fake reviews that look real? Meet me in the alley in five minutes.

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