Amazon is finally cleaning up fake product reviews on its website


When you want something on Amazon that you’re not too familiar with, reviews are usually your best bet to help you with your decision. And on Amazon, that’s as easy as just scrolling down the page to its user reviews. The one problem with that is, what if those reviews are fake?

It’s not uncommon anymore to find books with reviews written by friends or family of the author filled with nothing but praise for what is sometimes a mediocre piece of literature that you would end up disappointed with. Sometimes it might even be people paid to boost the overall score of the product!

Luckily, The New York Times is reporting that Amazon has been culling its reviews as of late. The company hasn’t been public about it or the process behind selecting which reviews to eliminate, but the evidence is there with the steadily shrinking number of reviews. What’s interesting is that many of the deleted reviews tend to be those of friends or family of the authors, which tend to be biased. I know it’s possible that they won’t be biased, but as a consumer, I think I would rather read reviews of people who have no affiliation with the product in question.

It’s great that Amazon has finally started doing this, but they could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they started much earlier — there are a ton of reviews on the site, and fakes might be hard to distinguish from the legitimate. Good luck Amazon, you’re going to need it.

[via Gizmodo, NYT, image via CollegeDegrees360]

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  • chucklw

    Amazon’s troubles go beyond fake reviews.

    While shopping for Christmas presents I saw that many customers were VERY unhappy with Amazon’s exchange policy on incorrect or faulty items. The same thing happened to me a few months when they sent an item that was not as pictured on their site.
    They now want the item that they will send, often to replace the one they sent in error, to be paid for before they will ship it out.
    This means that they will have your money for both items until they receive your return.

    I had better return service from Sony on an expensive TV where they wanted a credit card number that would not be charged unless the item to be returned was not received by them within 30 days.
    Amazon sure isn’t the same customer friendly company I used to do business with.

  • Enrique

    @kelltic: Yeah, I’ve heard about people making money out of writing reviews, or just getting a nice stream of free stuff from constantly writing reviews!

  • AT

    This does explain why Amazon is bugging me to make a review of everything I bought instead of just reviewing the marketplace sellers.

  • kelltic

    Writing (book) reviews for $ has become a good source of income. I’m very curious how Amazon distinguishes one kind of review from another. Maybe they’d like to hire me :). Or you.