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Millions of positive Amazon reviews are paid fake reviews. Who could have guessed?

By Patrick follow Patrick   2021 May 7, 10:19am 333 views   9 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share      


https://www.safetydetectives.com/blog/amazon-reviews-leak-report/

The SafetyDetectives cybersecurity team uncovered an open ElasticSearch database exposing an organized fake reviews scam affecting Amazon.

The server contained a treasure trove of direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers willing to provide fake reviews in exchange for free products. In total, 13,124,962 of these records (or 7 GB of data) have been exposed in the breach, potentially implicating more than 200,000 people in unethical activities.

While it is unclear who owns the database, the breach demonstrates the inner workings of a prevalent issue affecting the online retail industry. ...

These Amazon vendors send to reviewers a list of items/products for which they would like a 5-star review. The people providing the ‘fake reviews’ will then buy the products, leaving a 5-star review on Amazon a few days after receiving their merchandise.

Upon completion, the provider of the fake review will send a message to the vendor containing a link to their Amazon profile, along with their PayPal details.

Once the Amazon vendor confirms all reviews have been completed, the reviewer will receive a refund through PayPal, keeping the items they bought for free as a form of payment.

The refund for any purchased goods is actioned through PayPal and not directly through Amazon’s platform. This makes the five-star review look legitimate, so as not to arouse suspicion from Amazon moderators. ...

Although a lot of people providing fake reviews likely know what they’re doing, we must also highlight how vendors don’t advertise that fake reviews are illegal.

Unassuming people may have been targeted by Amazon vendors with the offer of free products in return for a review. Vendors use ‘professional’ language to present the offer as legitimate trade, utilizing phrases like ‘testing’ and ‘free product trials’ when they message prospective reviewers. ...

In several countries, paying people to conduct fake reviews is an illegal practice that damages the rights of consumers. If a company purchasing fake reviews is based in the United States, it would face lawful action from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Using deceptive marketing tactics could land a US-based vendor with a heavy penalty of more than $10 million. ...

Big online marketplaces are failing to contain the issue, and in doing so are failing to ensure the safety of their customers.


I'd be very surprised if anything at all happens to Amazon because of this. Amazon has merged with the media (WaPo) and government to keep the half trillion in Chinese imports flowing into the US, no matter what the harm to US manufacturing.
1   Booger   ignore (7)   2021 May 7, 5:15pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Are you just figuring this out now?
2   AmericanKulak   ignore (1)   2021 May 7, 7:23pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Using deceptive marketing tactics could land a US-based vendor with a heavy penalty of more than $10 million. ...


But not a Chinese one.
3   Patrick   ignore (1)   2021 May 7, 7:45pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Booger says
Are you just figuring this out now?


I didn't know it was quite that blatant.
4   zzyzzx   ignore (1)   2021 May 8, 2:58pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Booger says
Are you just figuring this out now?


I didn't know it was quite that blatant.


It's pretty much to the point where the only thing you should ever read are the negative reviews,, and even those with the proverbial grain of salt.
5   Hircus   ignore (0)   2021 May 8, 8:13pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Another thing I see often when I open some product I bought from Amazon is a letter inside inviting me to review the product on Amazon, and in exchange I will get $5 to $15, or a free gift, etc...

But this isn't so bad IMO, as these are still real reviews from real customers. I've yet to see one that's worded in a way where it makes me feel like giving them a better review will get me a better gift, although I do think some proportion of people likely create an overly positive review in the hopes that it will, which is bad, because it skews results.
6   Patrick   ignore (1)   2021 Jul 18, 1:34pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

https://reclaimthenet.org/apple-bans-fakespot/

Apple bans, at Amazon’s request, app that reveals fake Amazon reviews
Apple complied. ...

Amazon has requested that Apple delete from its App Store the app Fakespot, a popular service that tries to uncover false reviews on Amazon.

Khalifah, the founder, and CEO of Fakespot is on the opposite side of the argument, claiming that Amazon is mistaken and that many of its claims are unfounded. On Friday, Khalifah talked with Gizmodo over the phone and dismissed Amazon’s allegation that it might steal customers’ personal information “total nonsense,” saying that the firm does not and never would profit by selling user data.

Indeed, the concerns expressed by Khalifah are more than simply words. Amazon has long been swamped with false reviews, as well as phony items, some of which are genuinely harmful. Sadly, those fraudulent items, as well as the phony evaluations that support them, have now become a bit more difficult to identify for Apple customers.
7   zzyzzx   ignore (1)   2021 Oct 13, 8:02am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/amazon-india-rigging/

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers.
8   WookieMan   ignore (6)   2021 Oct 13, 12:43pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

zzyzzx says
https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/amazon-india-rigging/

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers.

I've stopped using it for the most part. It's all knock off shit. Maybe buy something like zip ties or some other mundane product that doesn't matter if it's not the real deal. Nothing name brand, that's for sure.
9   HeadSet   ignore (3)   2021 Oct 13, 1:57pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I wonder if Microsoft has it out for Amazon. If you use Edge to go to the Amazon site, and then click on an item to see the details, Edge will open a side window where you can get the identical item cheaper, usually Walmart.com. That is true even for obscure items like Sturmey Archer bicycle brake drums.

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