Sell a fake Amazon review at your own risk.
In King County Superior Court in Washington on Friday, Amazon filed a lawsuit against 1,114 John Does, who the site says sold fraudulent reviews for $5 or more on the freelance job site Fiverr.
"Unfortunately, a very small minority of sellers and manufacturers tries to gain unfair competitive advantage for their products," Amazon's complaint reads in the lawsuit. "One such method is creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews. While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers ... place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon's brand."
The complaint concludes with: "Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate."
If April was any indication, these fake reviews could finally stop appearing on the site within time. That's because six months ago, Amazon successfully sued several websites that sold fake reviews of Amazon products and most of those sites have been shut down since.
That, and Amazon seems to already have a strong case against this group of 1,000-plus offenders, some of which spelled out their scheme during online conversations with Amazon investigators. The complaint includes a screen shot from Amazon's interaction with a user named "bess98." During the conversation, Amazon asks the user about her process for reviews. She responded: "Dear Sir, Please write a review then I will post it."
There are other users implicated who guarantee review placement from 100 different Amazon accounts. For example, Fiverr seller "Verifiedboss" wrote: "I will post awesome amazon review on your product us, uk, canada, etc."
This lawsuit shows that Amazon is willing to go after offenders of all kinds — even small-time ones like these — to protect its credibility. While Amazon's products are up for review, its credibility isn't.