Amazon has filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court in Seattle against a California man and others the company says run websites that supply fake reviews for products sold on its site. The suit names California resident Jay Gentile as the operator of buyazonreviews.com and unidentified operators of buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net, and buyreviewsnow.com, GeekWire reports.
The suit, the first of its kind brought by Amazon, alleges that the websites advertise that they generate false four- and five-star customer reviews of products sold by Amazon. GeekWire looked at the court filings, but Amazon hasn’t commented.
One man, identified as Mark Collins, the operator of Buy Amazon Reviews, disputed the allegations in an interview with GeekWire.
Research shows that consumers use product reviews to help them make decisions and favor online retailers that include reviews, so Amazon is right to take care in this area. This unusual lawsuit is part of a wider effort by Amazon to cut down on false reviews, which the retailer says undermine customers’ trust. They likely do, and, if effective, the suit could help cut through the clutter of reviews there.
“While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand,” according to the court filing. “Amazon strictly prohibits any attempt to manipulate customer reviews and actively polices its website to remove false, misleading, and inauthentic reviews."
“Despite substantial efforts to stamp out the practice, an unhealthy ecosystem is developing outside of Amazon to supply inauthentic reviews,” the suit also says. “Defendants’ businesses consist entirely of selling such reviews.”