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FTC busts Amazon seller for buying reviews

The Federal Alternate Commission has launched a settlement with an Amazon seller that provided misleading reviews of its product, a weight-loss complement. The company, Treatment Encapsulations, reportedly bought the untrue reviews from AmazonVerifiedReviews.com.

A harmful actor returns. That associated entity, AmazonVerifiedReviews.com, used to be sued by Amazon itself in 2016, alongside with several other misleading review distributors. In step with that Amazon suit, “[AmazonVerifiedReviews.com’s] internet living claims that he provides ‘best a platform that links reviewers to interchange homeowners.’ In actuality, on the opposite hand, for a price, [it] ensures a definite review length will likely be posted alongside with a 4 or 5 famous person rating.”

Procuring 5-famous person reviews. The FTC said in its complaint in opposition to Treatment Encapsulations that the company paid AmazonVerifiedReviews.com to generate 5-famous person ratings to be in a pickle to deceive the patron public.

The FTC’s proposed courtroom grunt provides:

  • That Treatment Encapsulations now now no longer misrepresent the advantages of the product
  • That it sing patrons who provided the made of the FTC’s allegations
  • That it sing Amazon that it had provided the misleading reviews and title the misleading reviews themselves to Amazon
  • A judgment of $12.8 million, “suspended upon fee of $50,000 to the Commission and the fee of definite unpaid profits tax obligations.”

Outdated third-celebration prognosis of misleading reviews on Amazon have learned them to be pervasive. In step with Fakespot, a tool that grades Amazon reviews for authenticity, untrue reviews dominate definite product lessons. As an instance, the company learned that 61 p.c of review content within the electronics class used to be misleading. The number used to be 63 p.c for beauty and 64 p.c for dietary supplements.

It’s now no longer merely Amazon. There’s moreover a misleading review problem on Google.

Why it is best to care. Given how mighty patrons rely on reviews to make hang choices (and how they’ve transform a ranking factor) unscrupulous sellers and switch homeowners will proceed to strive to game the machine by purchasing for or aggressively incentivizing definite reviews. Customers have uneven consciousness of the grunt, even supposing a 2017 BrightLocal explore learned that near to 80 p.c of of us thought they’d encountered misleading reviews online.

This FTC settlement will likely be the gap of a new enforcement front in opposition to review fraud. But this could perhaps merely select more high-profile cases and huge penalties to discourage each and every person among these practices. And given that Amazon and Google endure no felony responsibility for misleading reviews on their platforms, they have restricted incentives to crack down.


About The Creator

Greg Helpful is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a private blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and valid-world client behavior. He’s moreover VP of Strategy and Insights for the Native Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or to find him at Google+.