For years, many online shops on Taobao and Tmall have hired people, especially students and housewives who have lots of free time and want to earn some extra money, to forge orders and good product reviews. It’s called “Shuadan” in Chinese. These hired “customers” browse and buy the products in exactly the same way that a normal customer would behave.
The headlines read loud and clear, “Trump says he’ll ‘bring fairness’ to Big Tech via an executive order if Congress doesn’t take action.” But can an Executive Order really bring a sudden change? Can it deter people from browsing Google, from buying Apple products, from ordering groceries, books etc from Amazon, or stop using Facebook, Whatsup or Instagram?
For over a year now we have been discussing the unethical behavior of hundreds of thousands of 3rd party sellers on sites such as Amazon, Walmart and eBay who pay large scale review companies to post fake 5-star reviews on their products (and fake 1-star reviews on their competitors products) to improve their chances of fooling the average person into believing their products are better than they actually are.
These days online shopping has become part of many regular shopping habits in many households around the globe. It is supposed to simplify and save time compounded with convenience. With the emerging of the virtual assistants like Alexa, it is even easier. Being an Amazon prime member, the convenience of free guaranteed delivery within 48 hours and in some instances 24 hours is an attractive shopping method.
One of the great things in the business world is that when you have a great product, it pretty much sells itself. Never has that been more true than it is with Numbify, a product line specializing in Lidocaine based pain and itch relief, with very strong acceptance nationwide and at the wholesale level. One by one, two by two, tattoo shops, pharmacies, salons, day spas, and even adult shops (shhh!) are taking advantage of the Numbify challenge, and finding out for themselves in side by side testing how much better Numbify really is for pain relief.
Part I & II of our expose on Amazon fraud showed how it has become open season for companies listing fake Amazon reviews. After outlining the extent of the massive scam, we argued in detail how Amazon is providing and sanctioning the world’s biggest fraud with an estimated 25% fake reviews across the online retailer’s platform. Fakespot, a company that analyzes fake reviews, claims 30% of all reviews on Amazon are fake.
Now we want to describe how this rot at Amazon has metastasized.
Talk and fake reviews are cheap, at Numbify were out to prove it.
Numbify, a popular numbing brand on sites such as Numbify.com Amazon.com, Walmart.com, & Ebay.com has issued an unprecedented challenge to other Lidocaine numbing product manufacturers! Quoting CEO Drew Steig, “It’s time to put up, or shut up!”
Numbify has long claimed the popularly held title of Strongest Numbing Creams, Gels & Sprays. While others have been spending their time and money perpetuating illegal consumer fraud, Numbify has been spending its efforts to increase its product strength, & quality while using as many natural ingredients as possible.
In our first article we explained why Amazon, lead by Jeff Bezos, has or soon will pass Bernie Madoff as the largest beneficiary of the biggest dollar scam in history. We also reviewed how brazen the fake review market is for companies on the Amazon platform (we have not seen any fake reviews offered on Ebay or Walmart), and we highlighted four fake review farms. If you found it shocking that fake review providers are shamelessly and publicly selling their wares through websites, advertising, Twitter and on videos– then the next 11 companies we’re going to spotlight (bringing the total to 15) should prove how widespread this scam is. Remember Amazon and our government bragged about taking down a single fake review ring in 2016 that resulted in the shutdown of three merchants.
The amount of fake review consumer fraud on Amazon is massive and shocking. The truth is, no single company benefits more from this massive fraud than Amazon.com. The Jeff Bezos company doesn’t use their monopoly powers in the traditional way to create higher prices. Instead, they knowingly choose more unscrupulous ways to advance their dominate market position, but always using their size and reach to ensure other companies in the marketplace are forced to react to their leadership.
We believe the Ebanel pain relief product with both Ultra-Potent Hemp Extract and Menthol is unethical and illegal under the rules of the Federal Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has not approved hemp or cannabis products.
The FDA has not approved this use. Hemp extract can not be included with any FDA active ingredient, or an FDA approved use like “pain relief.” For example menthol is considered an FDA active ingredient for pain relief. All pain relief products with menthol must work under the FDA regulatory umbrella.
Amazon started a new service that shows Amazon Hot New Releases but Amazon is doing little to nothing to stop the massive amount of fake reviews on their site, even after having it documented for them. Fake reviews and fake companies receive a big bang and advantage from Amazon when launching new products, which we have demonstrated in several articles. Amazon is giving another asymmetric advantage to the fake review cheaters that also launch new products and get listed as Hot New Releases.
Ebanel has more than doubled their fake reviews on a single product, literally overnight! Just look at the photo’s. Thursday evening their spray product was struggling with a slowly sinking score (despite a load of fake positive reviews!). As part of their product launch strategy, they gave their spray an immediate fake review boost by claiming it was a size and color variation on their cream product. We believe Amazon forcibly separated the two products after complaints of malfeasance. As a result, Ebanel’s fake review count went down significantly and so did their score on that spray product.
So what did Ebanel do? In addition to slowly adding fake reviews to the spray, they went back in a few weeks later and recombined the products!
After we sent our last article to the Department of Justice, they have responded. So we will be coping them on all of our future articles. We have made a claim that Amazon discriminates against both against US and honest businesses; that Amazon gives an asymmetric and unfair advantage to known and documented cheaters and/or offshore companies that use large scale fake reviews from day one.
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 reviewed Travelamo this week. We have found that companies are often the most egregious users of fake reviews during a new product launch. We reviewed the Travelambo Leather Business Card Holder Case for Men or Women Name Card Case Holder Magnetic Shut (Napa Red Wine) on Amazon.
We went through the reviews of Wewgo Ball Bearing 608-2RS and they had an incredible rating of 4.4 stars by Amazon. For this very high rating they were awarded an Amazon Choice Badge.
Having 4.4 stars made everything about this product look great, but there’s one major issue: The reviews were bought. Worst yet, over 70% of the total reviews for the Wewgo Ball Bearing 608-2RS were fake. Wewgo is another cheater! It appears everything about Wewgo was set up from day one to be a consumer scam, more on that later. Wewgo never deserved the Amazon Choice Badge. We’ve asked Amazon publicly to remove fake advertisers /reviews from their platform but after many complaints about Ebanel (so far the most successful at being a serial perpetrator of consumer fraud), they haven’t even removed the Amazon verified fake reviews or Amazon’s Choice Badge!
A continued investigation into Ebanel Laboratories fraudulent reviews on the Amazon Marketplace.
Year by year the Amazon Marketplace grows and flourishes, creating bigger opportunities and increased competition. How is a new company to compete in oversaturated markets against heavy competition, especially competition that produces better products? Well our friends at Ebanel Laboratories sure have it figured out!
The Numbing category on Amazon is rampant with fake reviews both positive and negative. Nowhere could we find a worse perpetrator than Ebanel Laboratories. After an in depth review of thousands of potentially false reviews, positive on their products, negative on their competitors, we filed a complaint to Amazon, and wrote an email directly to Jeff Bezos about Ebanel.
Amazon emailed us back on March 26th 2019.