Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is fighting back against fake reviews. The online retailer has filed a lawsuit against several freelancers for Fiverr.com, a site that provides paid product reviews.
The suit was filed Friday in Washington and lists more than 1,100 defendants by their Fiverr user names.
Amazon claims in the lawsuit that fake consumer reviews, while small in number, can undermine the trust of shoppers, sellers and manufacturers, and therefore tarnish Amazon's brand.
Fiverr lets users offer services for as low as $5. Amazon had an investigator contact many Fiverr users who offered to write fake reviews. One even offered to use multiple accounts and IP addresses, and another suggested creating a fake shipping record to better fool Amazon shoppers.
"Defendants are misleading Amazon's customers and tarnishing Amazon's brand for their own profit and the profit of a handful of dishonest sellers and manufacturers," the company said in the complaint. "Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate."
Product reviews are of critical importance to retailers as shoppers have become increasingly reliant on them both in stores and online. According to a recent Nielsen study, 92 percent of consumers trust word of mouth and peer reviews over any other type of advertising. A new social deals website launched this summer called Snagshout, which connects shoppers with merchants who have new items for sale on Amazon through consumers' reviews.
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