If you're an Amazon seller and you pay people to review your products on Amazon, the company may sue you. The online commerce giant sued three sellers today for using sockpuppet accounts to post glowing but phony product reviews.
"Our goal is to eliminate the incentives for sellers to engage in review abuse and shut down this ecosystem around fraudulent reviews in exchange for compensation," said an Amazon spokesperson on Wednesday.
As a voracious consumer of goods on Amazon, and one who reads and considers the reviews seriously when purchasing products there, I say it's about time.
Amazon has been aggressively pursuing reviewers it does not consider genuine over the last year, often using lawsuits to discourage the buying and selling of reviews, but this is the first time it has sued the sellers themselves.
Today's suits are against sellers who Amazon claims used fake accounts to leave positive reviews on their own products. The fake reviews spanned from 30 to 45 percent of the sellers' total reviews. The defendants are Michael Abbara of California, Kurt Bauer of Pennsylvania, and a Chinese company called CCBetter Direct.
Amazon is asking for the defendants to be banned from selling products on any of its sites or accessing its services. The suits also ask for the profits the sellers made on Amazon, attorneys' fees, and damages exceeding $25,000.
Amazon says that, since early 2015, it has sued over 1,000 people who posted fake reviews for cash. Now, the company is going after the retailers themselves. Amazon said that it intends to eliminate incentives for sellers to buy fake reviews for their products.