Amazon Sues 1,114 Individual Reviewers For Hire

You can pay cats to write Amazon reviews, but they're all very negative. (DJHeini)

You can pay cats to write Amazon reviews, but they’re all very negative. (DJHeini)

Earlier this year, Amazon did something that it had never tried before: it sued four websites peddling reviews to sellers on their site. Today, they’ve filed a new lawsuit [PDF] against people selling their services as reviewers through the site Fiverr. That means that the suit has 1,114 unnamed defendants.

Fiverr, if you’re not familiar, is a website where people sell goods and services for $5. One very popular service available on the site is Amazon reviews, and sellers offering them are plentiful. Yet Amazon isn’t suing Fiverr here: they’re going after the individual sellers of reviews.

To make sure that the services offered were legit, Amazon dispatched investigators to buy reviews. This led to the rather surreal situation where sellers would explain their strategies for evading detection by Amazon to a representative of Amazon.

What some review-writers were offering for five bucks wasn’t even writing work: one reviewer who was part of the sting operation simply asks clients to supply her with the review they want posted. “Dear Sir,” she wrote, “Please write a review then I will post it.” They’re selling the use of their identities and Amazon accounts, not their services as writers.

Amazon also alleges that third-party sellers ship empty boxes to paid reviewers, pretending that the item in question was inside.

After undercover sting, Amazon files suit against 1,000 Fiverr users over fake product reviews [GeekWire]