QUICK READ: 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Amazon as a whole is suffering from a fake review profile problem that’s very bad.” About 90% of Bluetooth-enabled products in the electronics category on Amazon are fake. “Books is another bad one,” with self-published authors generating fake reviews for themselves.
According to Jebbit’s Consumer Trust Data Index, out of 100 companies Amazon is the brand most trusted by U.S. consumers. If they were fully aware of the fake reviews problem on the site, Amazon’s credibility might suffer accordingly.
Amazon told CNBC it uses “powerful machine learning tools and skilled investigators to analyze over 10 million review submissions weekly, aiming to stop abusive reviews before they are ever published.” Still, the company recently removed 20,000 reviews after an investigation found that the top Amazon reviewers in the UK were engaging in fraud. But it’s still happening.
Should brands be worried about the problem? Yes. This week Facebook removed 16,000 groups from its platform that were trading in fake reviews. The problem will not go away, so it’s been left up to consumers whether a review is genuine or fraudulent. That is unacceptable.
Brands don’t really have the time or people to question every review, so it’s been left up to the platform. Amazon is doing a lousy job, and Facebook is no better. However, brands should fight back when a fraud review is erasing some of their brand equity. Doing nothing is not an option.
Unfortunately fraud is running rampant online. Programmatic ads are full of fraud inanition to fake websites and bogus product reviews. The Internet has given consumers a voice but it’s also given scammers a was to make money.
I had a client who was trying to market high-quality supplements online and was besieged with fake reviews. His orders dropped, and he withdrew from primarily selling online because he said, “I just can’t find the fraud online.”
Like lemmings jumping off a cliff marketers are throwing away a lot of money in online paid media. It’s estimated that the fraud online is well in the billions of dollars. Maybe Amazon and Facebook should take more of their profits and use them to weed out fraud.