Amazon cracks down on fake reviews with first ever lawsuit

Here's a first: Amazon has filed a lawsuit against people selling fake reviews of products being sold on Amazon.com.

Product reviews are a very important part of Amazon – if you’re not entirely sure whether or not you should buy a certain item, a simple scroll down below can help you decide. The bottom of the product page is usually reserved for reviews made by people who purchased the product before you.

Or, at least, that is how it should work.

But someone had developed an entire business from selling fake reviews, helping other people increase their Amazon sales that way, Geekwire reports.

The suit, the first of its kind from the Seattle company, was filed in King County Superior Court against a California man, Jay Gentile, identified in Amazon’s filings as the operator of sites including buyazonreviews.com, buyamazonreviews.com, bayreviews.net and buyreviewsnow.com.

The site also targets unidentified “John Does” also believed to be involved in the scheme.

The case is part of a broader effort by the company to crack down on fake reviews.

“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,” the suit says. “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 adds. “Defendants’ businesses consist entirely of selling such reviews.”

The suit alleges trademark violations, unfair competition and deceptive acts, and Amazon is seeking damages including restitution, requesting an accounting of the alleged profits received by Gentile and his colleagues from selling the fake reviews.