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Fake reviews: How the trade in fake Amazon reviews works

Last updated on March 9, 2021

A publicly accessible database has provided insights into the trade of fake Amazon reviews.

Fake Amazon reviews remain a problem.
(Picture: Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

About Telegram people are searched specifically for people to order products and then give fake reviews. The buyers are rewarded for a 5-star rating by getting the purchase price of the product refunded. Some manufacturers choose this way to get as many good reviews as possible. This is to entice others to buy. This procedure became known after a database with detailed information about it was publicly accessible.

The editors of Heise have received a tip from an informant about an unsecured Apache web server. This is said to have contained almost 15,000 screenshots showing the possible procedure for paying for fake reviews on Amazon.

The screenshots contain screenshots of Amazon purchases as well as evidence of a positive product evaluation. There is said to have always been a connection between product purchase and product rating, which suggests that the reviews are paid for. The buyers were approached via a telegram channel and thus attracted the suspicion that they would be reimbursed for a positive product review.

With fake valuations purchase price via Paypal get back

To do this, they would first have to buy the product at their own expense and then give a positive evaluation. In order for the money to be paid out via Paypal, this must be documented with screenshots of the purchase and the rating, the report says. For this reason this data should have been on the Apache server.

The review of the commissioned dealers is said to have shown that many of them are from China. Most of the products offered in the Telegram Channel came from rather unknown Chinese manufacturers. In the meantime, the Apache server in question has been taken off the net, but the editors at Heise claim to have backed up the data beforehand.

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This should contain the clear names, the addresses of the buyers as well as the names of the dealers who organized this. The editors do not want to forward the data to Amazon, as it contains personal information. The incident showed about 7,000 fake product reviews, but it is assumed that significantly more purchased product reviews will be found on Amazon.

Over 300 million fake Amazon reviews

A study by Fakespot According to the study, about 720 million new Amazon reviews will have appeared between March and September 2020. According to the study, 42 percent of them are said to have been purchased, which would be just over 300 million reviews.

According to Amazon, fake reviews are repeatedly attacked. Software and review teams are said to analyze more than ten million reviews per week, according to an Amazon spokesperson. In addition, he said, social media providers and payment service providers are working together to prevent the organization of fake product reviews. Customers would always have the possibility to report a suspicious review, a suitable link could be found under every review on Amazon.

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