Amazon has filed its second lawsuit this year, this time against over a thousand people for offering to create phony reviews of products listed on the company's e-commerce platform. Offers for fake reviews were at $5 each, and the profiles belonged to users of Fiverr.com.
Amazon engaged in an operation to crack down the phony reviewers by hiring some of the Fiverr members mentioned in the lawsuit, a report said.
The lawsuit targets neither the merchants nor Fiverr, because Fiverr's Terms of Service bans its users from conducting services that violate a third party's Terms of Service.
Included in Amazon's lawsuit are several Fiverr members, including one who goes by the username bess98.
"I will do, Amazon, Reviews, Amazon, Reviews, for $5," read the profile banner.
bess98's services, as per profile, consisted of the following:
"1. I will post awesome review on your amazon product, kindle ebook, ebook etc...
2. more than 30+ different account and ip
3. manual amazon reviews,
4. 100% satisfaction guaranty
5. 24/7 support
6. money back guaranty
7. For kindle review you have to provide me the review text.
8. Quick Responsiveness.
9. For verified purchases and kindle review , please send your own write text
10. Please send gift card/ coupon code for verified purchases
11. Verified Reviews: If you would like a verified amazon review, please provide me with a promo code or gift card so I can purchase the product for free."
Fiverr is a global online marketplace that provides a platform for people to sell their services, beginning at $5 per job, hence the name. Most of the services include audio transcription, photo conversion and video editing.
Amazon claims that the reviewers often arranged to have boxes shipped to their residences so as to appear that they had ordered the product. The boxes, however, would be empty.
"Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate. Although Amazon has successfully requested removal of similar listings from Fiverr in the past, the removal of individual listings does not address the root cause of the issue or serve as a sufficient deterrent to the bad actors engaged in creating and purchasing fraudulent product reviews," stated Amazon in its court filing.
Similarly, in April 2015, Amazon filed a lawsuit against alleged operators of websites that offered Amazon merchants the ability to purchase fake 4- and 5-star customer reviews.