Fake Amazon reviews giving unknown brands an SEO bump, says Which?

18 Avril, 2019, 05:13 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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Amazon is inundated with tens of thousands of "potentially fake" five-star product reviews, a United Kingdom consumer group claims.

Fake reviews on little known tech brands and products, many made in China, are skewing customer searches and choices on Amazon, it is claimed.

More perniciously researchers found evidence that such content had the potential to unfairly propel listings for little-known brands further up search rankings. The group found that headphones, particularly from "unknown" brands, had attracted thousands of fake reviews.

Many items also boasted a high number of five-star ratings posted in a short space of time - another indicator suggesting inauthentic reviews.

Of 12,000 reviews for these, the majority (87%) were from unverified purchases.

An investigation by Which? found that of the hundreds of tech products for sale on the Jeff Bezos-led company, many have glowing reviews from unverified purchasers, which is a strong sign of being fake. "All were five-star, all unverified, and all arrived on the same day", the report said. If they are all on the same day, or show very similar comments on different products, you should smell a rat. Which? was unable to establish the source of the unverified reviews.

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The study says that search results for gadgets are dominated mostly by brands no one has ever heard of, but their reviews are positive.

When asked about what it is doing to combat fake reviews on its site, Amazon told Which?: "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".

"We use a combination of teams of investigators and automated technology to prevent and detect inauthentic reviews at scale, and to take action against the bad actors behind the abuse", the statement continued. We estimate more than 90 percent of inauthentic reviews are computer generated, and we use machine learning technology to analyze all incoming and existing reviews 24/7 and block or remove inauthentic reviews.

Which? was unable to contact the unknown brands identified in its investigation.

Two weeks ago, Which? revealed how many genuine customer reviews on the websites of Amazon, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis, gave five-star ratings to products it had tested and rated as a "Don't Buy". Which? said these were not as valuable as the independent and long-running product tests it carries out.

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