Well-known Amazon reviewers appear to have succumbed to the five-star fraud but the company stopped it
Amazon’s top reviewers in the UK appear to have engaged in fraud, leaving thousands of five-star ratings in exchange for money or free products, which is why the company removed 20,000 product reviews following a Financial Times investigation.
Justin Fryer, Amazon’s number one critic in the UK, averaged a five-star rating once every four hours during the month of August, according to the FT analysis; Many of these reviews were for products from random Chinese companies, then Fryer appears to have resold the products on eBay.
Amazon has a specific rule against posting reviews in exchange for compensation of any kind, including free or discounted products made on behalf of anyone else.
The funny thing is that nine of the top 10 reviewers in the UK seem to have broken that guideline, engaging in suspicious activity, as the 20,000 reviews that were removed were written by seven of the top 10 reviewers.
The company was alerted to Fryer’s activity in early August because at least one Amazon user reported the man’s questionable ratings to company CEO Jeff Bezos.
Amazon stops 5-star rating fraud
Fryer maintains that he was definitely not paid for posting bogus five-star ratings, and says his eBay listings of “unused” and “unopened” products were extras, according to the Times.
Regardless, its activity isn’t too surprising, as fake reviews have been a problem on Amazon for years – just remember that in July, The Markup discovered that sellers were engaging in a variety of tactics aimed at manipulating their ratings on the Amazon. platform, including the famous review hijack, where old ratings were attached to new, often unrelated products.
During the coronavirus pandemic, as more people shop online, the problem has only gotten worse – for example, in May, 58% of Amazon products in the UK appeared to have fake reviews, according to Fakespot, a firm that analyzes rating fraud.
Fakespot CEO Saoud Khalifah noted that the scale of this fraud is staggering, as Amazon UK has a much higher percentage of fake reviews than the other platforms.