How damaging are fake product reviews to businesses?

Online retail sites often offer their customers reviews of products, but what if these reviews were false?

Bogus reviews are no doubt very misleading to customers, and help to generate profit for manufacturers and independent sellers unfairly, which can be damaging to etailers.

For example, etailer heavyweight Amazon has taken legal action against more than 1,000 people who the firm says have posted fake reviews on its site.

The firm says its brand image is being damaged by ‘false, misleading and inauthentic’ reviews, paid for by sellers who are hoping to improve the sales of their products.

Amazon said in a statement: "While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand," reports the BBC.

According to Amazon a website known as, offers a review service for around £3.24, promising five-star reviews for a seller’s product.

Reviews found on Amazon by potential customers could therefore be mislead into purchasing a product due to its false, favourable review, which could cause customers to turn away from the etail giant and look elsewhere for the goods.

Customers are currently invited to leave their own comment or review about a product on Amazon’s website, however the rules state that paid- for or fictional reviews are forbidden.

Now that Amazon is clamping down on these false reviews, perhaps sellers will think twice before they opt for a false review of one of their products.

Amazon’s lawsuit said: "Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate."

This isn’t the first time though that Amazon has had to block fake reviews. Earlier this year the etailer took four websites to court to stop them posting paid-for positive reviews of products.

It’s no question that false reviews can be incredibly harmful to businesses, but now that Amazon is focussing on this issue, we may start to see more online retailers take note and secure their own review system.

Image source: Shutterstock

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