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Amazon continues crackdown on phoney product reviews

29 April 2016 - 17:35 by Graham Miller

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Millions of people who shop online turn to reviews left by other users to work out whether or not it is a good idea to buy a particular product. But because e-commerce sites are accessible to all, entire businesses have built up around the practice of posting fake reviews to artificially enhance the prestige of particular items.

Because of its size and influence, Amazon has been a major target for such underhanded tactics. And this week it announced the latest step in its ongoing attempts to take down those who profit.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the retailer has launched new efforts to sue both those who sell phoney product reviews and those who are willing to pay for them. It has also said that it will effectively be naming and shaming those involved, arguing that it will soon be able to identify many more of the guilty parties.

In the latest lawsuit filed by Amazon, just two of the seven defendants are identified by name. But the implication is that more action will be taken in the future, as more people involved in this cottage industry are pinpointed.

More than 1,000 people have so far been hit with some kind of legal action from Amazon as a result of fake reviews, a spokesperson for the firm revealed. This, in turn, has led to more potential defendants being identified.

Those not directly involved in the legal action are still faced with punitive measures, including having their Amazon accounts banned so that they can neither sell items nor buy them via safe shopping online and post reviews.

Eventually, Amazon is hoping that it will be able to make sure every review on its site is genuine, but until that day comes, shoppers will have to take them with a pinch of salt.