We have written news articles about Amazon. No matter how bad and dishonest the paid, fake reviews became on their marketplace website, Amazon persistently responded to our complaints by sending us their guidelines and continuing to make public statements such as:
“One unauthorized review is one too many.”
“Any attempt to manipulate customer reviews is strictly prohibited at Amazon.”
“Small and medium-sized businesses are thriving with Amazon.”
We have repeatedly submitted factual evidence and documentation of the systemic use of fake reviews directly to Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and no matter how bad the documented malfeasance is, Amazon just skirts the issues.
We submitted to Amazon the article Ebanel Laboratories Review Fraud on Amazon Sinks to a New Low – Part 2.
Amazon’s official response to the article was a form email that again quoted their guidelines. Amazon claimed to have taken “Appropriate action.” Now here is the shocker: we tried to find what the “appropriate action” was after eight repeated public complaints. As of July 24, we could not find any evidence that Amazon has taken any action, after they continued to allow consumer fraud that is both illegal and against Amazon’s own public statements and guidelines.
Then we found this…
The article we published was completely removed from Google News.
That’s right, shoot the messenger. The article Ebanel Laboratories Review Fraud on Amazon Sinks to a New Low – Part 2 was removed with no negative comments and no claims that any of the facts were incorrect. The article simply vanished from Google News without a trace.
So let the consumer fake review fraud continue!
The article disappeared from Google News just days after we emailed it to Amazon– an article that attempts to hold one of the world’s largest companies accountable. This news outlet is simply asking Amazon to uphold their own publicly stated values and their internal guidelines– and America’s consumer laws.
We have never seen this before.
So, it is our belief, based on actual events, that Amazon is not policing fake reviews at all, or certainly not against some of the largest serial offenders. But we believe that Amazon is policing the free press, that happens to expose how they are constantly rewarding offshore companies and others that are committing consumer fraud within Amazon’s Marketplace platform.
Amazon explained to the Department of Justice that small and medium size companies are thriving. Maybe, but the real gravy is going to those who produce massive fake reviews and it appears that only a small percentage of them are American companies.
In our article “Amazon – Travelambo Review Showed 100 % Fake Reviews for a Fake Company – Possibly Owned by Alibaba & Ebanel Review Fraud Update,” we explained how many of these fake review companies were foreign owned with built-in circuit breakers. They are positioned so if and when they get caught, they have almost zero invested in America, leaving very little to lose. It appears that the business model of most of these companies is to use fake reviews from day one. With Travelambo, cited above, it’s very hard to simply find out who owns the company.
American companies are investing their capital and livelihood in producing products sold on Amazon. They are at a severe disadvantage and far less likely to cheat with fake reviews because they have no circuit breaker. If they get caught, they could be severely punished and possibly lose years of hard work. Thus Amazon is rewarding foreign competitors who have an asymmetric advantage when and if they cheat. To date, we have not seen even one false review removed, not to mention any severe penalties that Amazon claims the right to use in their guidelines.
So here is the million dollar Amazon small business dilemma…
The American small business person is facing a devastating decision. You can buy 1,000 fake reviews at about $5 per post, and Amazon will greatly reward your company with their 5-star rated algorithms. So, for about $5,000 you can have 1,000 positive reviews and quickly be in a dominant position on the Amazon platform. Since over 80% of the buyers read and believe the fake 5-star reviews, you will be an instant success.
If you’re competing with fake reviews and you’re honest – your company will have a much lower number of 5-Star reviews and far fewer total reviews. An Amazon product expert claimed only about 1 in 300 buyers of their product ever writes a review. Knowing Amazon algorithms rewards the high number of 5-star reviews, there is no way an honest company can compete with a bulk buyer of fake reviews. With a fake foreign company, who has built-in circuit breakers, knowing even if they get caught Amazon will do nothing, there is tremendous up side and little down side in leveraging massive fake reviews.
We believe many of the foreign competitors who have been doing buying fake reviews for years are the same small companies who sold “cheap Chinese knockoffs” in the past and have just migrated their business to Amazon with a new name and scheme.
Many people seem unaware of this pervasive consumer fraud that has developed over the years. There are entire categories on Amazon (electronics, cell phone attachments, numbing creams, and many more lower end products) that have had cheap “knock-offs” launched with fake reviews from day one.
We now believe the underlying reason Amazon has been skirting our complaints (and we know there are many more complaints out there) is because if they accurately police their marketplace for fake reviews, they could lose a large percentage of their market leaders and whole categories of products could be wiped out. It would be ugly, possibly very ugly, and who at Amazon wants to take responsibility for this type of scandal?
Amazon’s dilemma is: If you know that a majority of companies in a category are providing fake reviews, how can you ethically target only one, even when they get caught?
If a small news service is able to catch fake reviews endlessly, with no capital investment, knowing that the fake reviews always leave a trail or evidence, why can’t a company like Amazon, using their unlimited capital resources, remove a simple fake review once it has been documented?
Amazon is building the war cloud, a $10 billion computer system that possibly is the most complicated and complex cloud computer in the world. They are going to possibly run the US Pentagon. Believe us, if they wanted to clean up the massive and growing fake review problem they could and do so very quickly. The new problem for Amazon is that most fake reviewers (the farms) know there has been no follow through at the ground level for those caught cheating. So we are now seeing the next generation of cheaters: Indian, Chinese and low cost Asian countries launching a ground swell of new fake companies.
We believe that Amazon has an enterprise-wide problem of fake reviews. We have documented that the list of cheaters includes many companies that have earned Amazon’s Best Selling Badge, so they are clearly not attempting to tell the public the truth. Amazon continues to make statements such as “One unauthorized review is one too many” while doing nothing. We’ve repeatedly asked them to back up their statements and remove all serial fake review companies from their platform. We still can’t identify where they have removed a single fake review that we have documented.
This week’s fake review company with phony reviews is JIA LE
JIA LE is an India based company and was rewarded Amazon’s Choice badge. Thirteen out of their fourteen 5-star reviews are fake (or 92%). The company is so fake that currently their official US trademark claim reads: Status: 602 – Abandoned-Failure To Respond Or Late Response. Outside of Amazon and the abandoned trademark request, they have no discernible investment whatsoever in the US.
We believe all the companies listed below belong to the same fake review server farm.
Sasha: She purchased from the following companies…
April Mutter: She purchased from the following companies…
Diane Shacklett: She purchased from the following companies…
Amaz43on Customer: No review
Carol L. Kohl: She purchased from the following companies…
Tracy: They purchased for the following companies…
Joseph Henson: He purchased from the following companies…
Karina: No reviews posted
Sabina Crosslin: She purchased from the following companies…
Youbag and Sosoon of come up on other screens
Iva R. Wescott: No review
Suzanne S. Miller: She purchased from the following companies…
gloria panelo: She purchased from the following companies…
Nancy Schmidt: She purchased from the following companies…
When you have a small number of people, constantly buying from the same small companies, and these are companies you have never heard of before, there is no question that these are false reviews.
When is Amazon going to do what is right, for them, for honest companies, for our country, and most importantly for the 80% of their consumers who trust their reviews?
If you know about any Amazon fake review issues, please send it to: CommunalNews1@gmail.com