Amazon is seeking legal recourse against more than 1,000 people it says have posted fake reviews on its website. According to the Seattle Times, the online retailer says its reputation is being damaged by false and misleading reviews that sellers pay for to improve the ranking and reputation of their products.
A total of 1,114 defendants were classified as “John Does,” because Amazon hasn’t discovered their real names. The retailer alleges that the defendants offer fake five-star reviews for as little as $5 through Fiverr.com -- an online marketplace for jobs and tasks. It added that in many instances, the defendants encouraged sellers to write their own fake reviews. Amazon regularly shuts down accounts that it detects are abusing its review system. But that doesn’t stop sellers from offering their fake review services.
"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 in its complaint, according to BBC News. The company said that it has spotted fake review sellers attempting to avoid getting caught by using multiple accounts that post from unique Internet addresses.
It’s not the only time Amazon has taken action against fake reviews. In April, the company sued four websites to stop them from selling fake product reviews, according to Reuters. And in 2012, it began cracking down on writers manipulating reviews to give their books a more positive reputation, according to the New York Times.
This time around, Amazon is not targeting Fiverr itself, but the sellers offering fake reviews. Fiverr has regularly cooperated with Amazon to remove the fake reviewers from its website.