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Amazon.com takes aim at phony reviewers on Fiverr.com

By Amy R. Connolly
Amazon.com takes aim at phony reviewers on Fiverr.com
Amazon.com sued 1,114 unidentified people for allegedly posting fake reviews. Image by SP-Photo/Shutterstock

SEATTLE, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Online retail giant Amazon.com sued 1,114 unidentified people who are allegedly selling fake reviews for merchants trying to boost sales.

The company, headquartered in Seattle, said its brand has been damaged by "false, misleading and inauthentic" reviews paid by sellers. The company is specifically suing freelancers who offer to write phony reviews on Fiverr.com, an online marketplace where people are hired for minor tasks.

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The legal action follows an earlier Amazon lawsuit targeting several websites that sold fake customer reviews. Amazon allows anyone, customer or not, to post reviews, which are often used by consumers to make product choices.

"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," Amazon said.

The defendants are identified as John Does 1 to 1,114 in the lawsuit. The lawsuit does not target Fiverr, which is working with Amazon to resolve the issue.

Using the search terms "Amazon reviews" on the Fiverr website shows freelance writers advertise positive reviews for $5.

One reviewers said, "I can do Amazon product ranking anywhere you want, I can give you 50+ reviews on a same product."

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Channing Barringer, a Fiverr spokesman, said the company facilitates about one million transactions a month over more than 100 categories and is working closely with Amazon.

"We have worked closely together to remove services that violate our terms of use, and respond promptly to any reports of inappropriate content," he said.

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