Amazon Files Another Suit in Fight Against Bogus Reviews

SEATTLE (The Seattle Times/TNS) -

Amazon.com has stepped up its battle against suspected bogus reviewers, filing a second lawsuit this year against unnamed individuals who offer $5 to submit upbeat product evaluations on the site.

This time, Seattle-based Amazon is going after reviewers soliciting business on Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelancers. The site, a hot startup that raised $30 million from investors last year, pairs workers with work that initially costs $5 a job, though prices of jobs now vary.

While it might seem counterintuitive that Amazon would block glowing reviews of products, the company believes that deceiving customers would hurt its business in the long run. Moreover, fake reviews also harm third-party sellers who don’t game the system.

In its suit, filed in King County Superior Court, Amazon alleges that many of the Fiverr reviewers promise “positive or 5-star reviews” for products sold by third parties on Amazon’s site. Some of those reviewers encourage sellers to “create the text for their own review,” according to the suit.

Amazon did not name Fiverr as a defendant, and noted that it’s “successfully requested removal” of bogus reviews.

“Fiverr has a take-down process we have used, but it doesn’t solve the root cause,” Amazon said in a statement.

Fiverr did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In April, Amazon sued three websites for purveying fake reviews. In the new litigation, Amazon notes that most of those sites have since closed. The company said it has “taken action” against sellers who used those sites to obtain fake reviews.

“We continue to use a number of mechanisms to detect and remove the small fraction of reviews that violate our guidelines,” the company said in a statement. “We terminate accounts that abuse the system and we take legal action.”