What Is Amazon’s Lawsuit Over Fake Reviews Doing To Stop Other Potential Scammers?

Amazon buyers and sellers take the review process very seriously. People have turned the simple effort of stars and compliments/complaints into actual jobs, as companies often send free merchandise to high-profile reviewers just to get in on their trusted action. It sounds absurd, but online businesses are built on trust these days, and when someone like “VagDestroyer” claims to know what he’s talking about when it comes to fitness supplements, other Destroyers will ultimately follow. But what happens when a side industry based on lies and bribes takes off? The trust foundation crumbles, and Amazon ends up sending its lawyers after the bad guys.

The Seattle-based online mega-giant retailer is currently suing at least 1,114 product reviewers for false and fraudulent reviews after a sting operation revealed that people can easily buy five-star reviews for their “stores” or one-star reviews for their competitors. What’s interesting is that Amazon is going after the review authors and not a site like Fiverr that serves as the middle man between business owner and positive reviewer. Through that site, you can spend $5 for a glowing five-star review to make your business look a little better, and even with Amazon going after these opportunistic liars, it doesn’t seem to be scaring off any of Fiverr’s ambitious scam artists. Businesses beware.

For more on Amazon’s giant brass balls, available as an add-on for Prime subscribers when you spend $25 or more, anchors Tom Storey and Briana Lane weigh in on today’s episode of The Desk.