Fake reviews, especially if paid for items on sites like Amazon, are a nuisance at best and downright menacing at worst, but yet something that works outstanding. The FTC had settled its first case of accusing Cure Encapsulations of paying AmazonVerifiedReviews.com to write and post fake reviews to sustain an above-average Amazon rating for the company’s Garcinia Cambogia weight-loss supplement.
For any e-commerce company, ratings and reviews play a significant role in every seller’s online selling venture. 90% of consumers base their purchasing decision on reviews, whether it is the online or offline market. And, of course, dealing with negative reviews is a tricky task. But this does not mean that the consumers are to be misguided with fake reviews to grow the product market stronger.
In this day and age of the internet, blogs, social media, YouTube, and review sites, paid reviews are a norm. But paid reviews do not mean bogus reviews. Many firms offer to publish an honest review in exchange for money, discounts, vouchers or products. It works marvelously for both parties without spoiling the business ecosystem.
Despite all efforts to tackle the issue, it’s still a significant setback for online shopping sites which comes as a surprise to learn that this week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accomplished its first settlement in proceedings challenging a merchant’s use of a product on fake and paid reviews.
Deceiving customers have never been an intention, says Amazon. It has invested immensely in automated and manual controls to monitor the hundreds of millions of reviews on its site to maintain their authenticity. The company 2015 has been filing legal actions to fight against scams and has already sued more than 1,000 registered sellers involved in creating fake product reviews on its sites.
Amazon has imposed a fine of $12.8 million while settling the case this week with another $50,000 due and the rest suspended upon specific conditions. The company has also been prohibited from making similar products unless they have provided “competent and reliable scientific evidence” of their effectiveness in the form of human clinical testing.