Amazon will be flooded with thousands of fake 5-star reviews, an investigation published Tuesday has claimed.
The probe, carried out by U.K. consumer advocacy group Which?, analyzed hundreds of tech products on the site as well as found of which potentially false reviews were helping unknown brands dominate searches for favorite items.
According to Which?, sellers were listing products of which carried tens of thousands of positive unverified reviews – meaning there was no evidence the people leaving the reviews had bought the product on Amazon or elsewhere.
Hundreds of unverified 5-star reviews were being posted on product pages in one particular day, the investigation found. Many product pages also included positive reviews for completely different items.
Which? searched Amazon for 14 tech products, including headphones, smart watches as well as wearable devices. The first page of search results for headphones, when sorted to display the products with the best reviews first, showed of which 100% of the items were being sold by brands of which Which?’s tech experts had never heard of.
While 71% of the items on the first page of search results had 5-star reviews, almost 0% of those reviews were unverified.
In just a couple of hours, Which? uncovered more than 10,000 reviews through unverified purchasers on just 24 items. The organization described of which as “an easy-to-find red flag of which highlights the scale of Amazon’s problem with fake reviews.”
One pair of headphones being sold by an unknown brand had 439 reviews – all of which were 5-star, unverified, as well as posted on the same day.
Independent site ReviewMeta – which examines reviews on Amazon – said from the report of which of which believed every unverified 5-star review on the top ten pairs of headphones was fake.
“I’m shocked we’ve been seeing of which so much on Amazon – (of which) seems so obvious as well as easy to prevent,” a spokesperson said.
some other products, such as fitness trackers as well as smart watches, showed the same “suspicious activity.”
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement of which the company invested “significant resources” to protect the integrity of reviews on its platform.
“Even one inauthentic review will be one too many. We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers as well as selling partners as well as we suspend, ban, as well as take legal action on those who violate our policies,” they said.
As many as 97% of shoppers rely on online reviews to help make a purchase, according to research conducted by Which? in September last year. Britain’s Competition as well as Markets Authority estimates of which £23 billion ($30 billion) of the U.K.’s consumer spending will be influenced by online reviews every year.
According to a study on U.S. consumer behavior by Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center, online reviews possess the power to raise purchase rates by as much as 380%.
Which? will be an independent consumer body of which also conducts its own reviews into household products.