It’s nothing new. Once businesses saw the benefits of a bunch of five star reviews, an industry to game the review systems was bound to spring up.
It’s not just Amazon — Trustpilot is also mentioned in the article — but Amazon’s system has been set up for rigging for a long time now. Not only can a company buy a review, but then Amazon’s platform allows them to up-vote their own fake reviews and down-vote everyone else’s proper reviews via the “Was this review helpful to you” buttons?.
In fact, it has the look of a system that was specifically designed to allow review fraud.
The trouble with anything like this is automation. Amazon want a self-moderating system but that leaves it open to both fraud and stupidity. There’s the fraudsters we’ve already mentioned but there are also the stupid, where people up or down-vote a review based on whether or not they agree with it rather than whether or not it’s a good review.
A good review stands alone, whether you agree with it or not. It will be analytical, truthful and it will justify what it says. That would make for a good review even if my own opinions and experiences of the product were the complete opposite. Honestly, you see five star reviews being up-voted where the only thing a person has said in the review is “fine”.
The only way they’ll prevent review fraud is to remove the voting buttons and use humans to moderate all reviews, but they won’t do that because they simply won’t pay for the manpower.
So I think we’re stuck with it, which is a shame because good, honest personal reviews are really helpful when making product choices.
- Fake Five-star Reviews Being Bought and Sold Online by Dan Box on BBC