Amazon Lawsuit Takes On Fake Reviewers
Amazon has filed a suit against the operators of several websites, alleging the businesses write fake reviews for profit about products posted on its site.
The suit against Jay Gentile, the operator of buyazonreviews.com, and a number of “John Does” who operate other sites including buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net and buyreviewsnow.com represents the first time Amazon has gone to court over the issue.
The copy on the buyamazonreviews site reads, “Are you tired of your products not being seen, tired of competitors leaving bad reviews? The solution is simple. Buy Amazon reviews. You can have unlimited 4 and 5 star reviews this week. Our skilled writers look at your product, look at your competitor’s products and then write state of the art reviews that will be sure to generate sales for you.”
Amazon’s suit alleges the review sites engage in trademark violations, unfair competition and deceptive acts. It is seeking damages and restitution.
In an online discussion last week, the retail industry insiders on RetailWire‘s BrainTrust largely supported Amazon’s move to battle the fake review mills.
“Whether it meets the legal definition of fraud or not, it’s obviously sleazy and I support Amazon’s suit,” said Warren Thayer, editor and managing partner at Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer. “Laws in recent years have been written and amended to protect vested interests, not the public, so it’s a tough battle. It’s easy to throw up your hands and say it’s the way of the world, but we should never give up fighting for what is plain-old, common-sense right.”
“The whole point of reviews is that we can access points of view that aren’t paid for,” said Laura Davis-Taylor, EVP of customer experience at MaxMedia. “They are a neutral third party. People want this information and the second we start thinking that they may be the advertiser, the less credible they are, which means the less utilized. If that happens, we as [consumers] will start looking elsewhere for those neutral third-party points of view. Likely it will be friends and store associates. So yes Amazon, you’d better get on it! And Facebook? Look and learn.”