Amazon sues alleged reviews-for-pay sites

by Raydal
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I don't know if they are going to win this one but this is an interesting concept.

Amazon sues alleged reviews-for-pay sites - CNET

-Ray Edwards
  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    First, Amazon's legal terms do not prohibit or even mention fake reviews.

    Visitors may post reviews, comments, photos, and other content; send e-cards and other communications; and submit suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, or other information, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious to third parties or objectionable and does not consist of or contain software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings, or any form of "spam."
    The legal terms do then state:

    You may not use a false e-mail address, impersonate any person or entity, or otherwise mislead as to the origin of a card or other content. Amazon reserves the right (but not the obligation) to remove or edit such content, but does not regularly review posted content.
    There is no requirement anyone buy a product before reviewing it.

    There is no requirement any review be truthful. Or that a person use their full real name.

    Nothing per se "illegal" about a fake review, although each review may have to be judged on its merits based on its content.

    If I loved Obama's book, but posted a review saying I hated it, I could do that.

    If someone wants to review a product based on the product description they can do that. For example, I am now giving the Kindle a one start review even though I have not bought it.

    If there is a false "verified purchase" statement that is a different story.


    Second, Amazon's legal terms have an arbitration clause. The company is going to have a hard time maintaining its lawsuit over fake reviews as opposed to enjoining trademark infringement. Funny how those arbitration clauses can bite companies.


    Third, the arbitration clause only allows claims on an individual basis. From the article:

    "[Amazon] requests the sites ... provide information on each fake review created and the accounts of the people who paid for them ..."

    The company may have a tough time getting information like this in arbitration where there is no judge, about third parties in different states with privacy rights who cannot be made a party to the arbitration due to Amazon's own terms.


    Fourth, what damages does Amazon have from a false review?

    Going to be interesting when the company receives the upcoming demand to open its private books so its finances, profits and expenses can be evaluated before and after any fake review was made.

    .
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

      First, Amazon's legal terms do not prohibit or even mention fake reviews.
      WELL, a fake review IS fraud and a lie! SERIOUSLY, if you have to mention EVERYTHING, NOTHING will ever be right. YEAH, I KNOW! YOU'RE A LAWYER! And YEAH, lawyers will think like this and argue as you have, and win, but STILL....



      The legal terms do then state:

      There is no requirement anyone buy a product before reviewing it.
      YEAH, it IS a shame! People may look down on sites saying "BUY FROM US, to review here.". At least SOME sites, like amazon's, ALSO have people that are certified, for having purchased.

      There ARE some that seem to be copied from a more specific, or general review, and some are about other vendors. They may be totally wrong and misleading, but at least they may be honest.

      There is no requirement any review be truthful. Or that a person use their full real name.
      Don't they at least require you to have certified contact info? The way things are going, every private email may soon have some tie to some contact path. I say private, because there is one that is kind of like a party line that others can read, and I say contact path because you could obfuscate some things, like gmail. At least a dual optin system with a user id greatly limits such fraud.

      [quote]Nothing per se "illegal" about a fake review, although each review may have to be judged on its merits based on its content.

      If I loved Obama's book, but posted a review saying I hated it, I could do that.

      If someone wants to review a product based on the product description they can do that. For example, I am now giving the Kindle a one start review even though I have not bought it.
      Well, OBAMAs books undoubtedly have a lot of false reviews, but you could debate the agenda and relationships. THAT is simply all opinion.

      Second, Amazon's legal terms have an arbitration clause. The company is going to have a hard time maintaining its lawsuit over fake reviews as opposed to enjoining trademark infringement. Funny how those arbitration clauses can bite companies.
      But if something is outright fraud, can you hold it to arbitration? I doubt they will try to sue someone for doing one or two questionable reviews, unless they are clearly WAY over the top. They are likely going after those that have enlisted many, or done a lot of such reviews.

      Third, the arbitration clause only allows claims on an individual basis. From the article:

      "[Amazon] requests the sites ... provide information on each fake review created and the accounts of the people who paid for them ..."

      The company may have a tough time getting information like this in arbitration where there is no judge, about third parties in different states with privacy rights who cannot be made a party to the arbitration due to Amazon's own terms.
      Another reason to NOT have arbitration in such cases. Arbitration makes sense for a number of things, but for fraud like this, there is no point. And companies have legitimate reasons for keeping such info secret unless a court orders it.

      Fourth, what damages does Amazon have from a false review?

      Going to be interesting when the company receives the upcoming demand to open its private books so its finances, profits and expenses can be evaluated before and after any fake review was made.

      .

      Income isn't consistent. You can't simply look at sales to see the effects. As for me, I take GUESSES based on the average rating, and look for patterns, etc... If someone speaks about the company a certain way, and I know it isn't like that, I throw things out. SOME people may say things like "I bought this aspirin, and it didn't grow hair! IT IS GARBAGE!"! SO WHAT? Who says aspirin is supposed to grow hair? And I have been generally lucky so far. But some will see a dozen 1 star reviews, with horrible comments, or even NO comments, and just not buy. Amazon will know they looked, and likely that they looked at reviews, but won't know WHY they bought what they did.

      But amazon did this to help people and help create sales. In MY case, IT WORKED! So they have a real business case and, as the reviews get less and less honest, they will lose their effect!

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author LifeIsGood
    Hey, thanks for the post, Raydal.
    It was just a matter of time.

    LifeIsGood ~ It's About To Get Even Better!
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOEnroll
    When ever I go to Craigslist I always find people asking to place amazon reviews

    I hope all this soon comes to an end.
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

    I don't know if they are going to win this one but this is an interesting concept.

    Amazon sues alleged reviews-for-pay sites - CNET

    -Ray Edwards


    If they are good reviews coming from a person that has never used the product in question....they do have a case IMHO.
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    • Profile picture of the author whateverpedia
      Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

      If they are good reviews coming from a person that has never used the product in question....they do have a case IMHO.
      They're going to have a bloody hard job proving it.
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      Why do garden gnomes smell so bad?
      So that blind people can hate them as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

      If they are good reviews coming from a person that has never used the product in question....they do have a case IMHO.
      How is that any different than bad reviews coming from a person that has never used the product in question or read the book?
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      • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        How is that any different than bad reviews coming from a person that has never used the product in question or read the book?


        Maybe you should ask the FTC that question. They got all over fake review sites that gave glowing reviews on certain products.


        I give reviews on product on Amazon all the time.


        Some like the Itasca Icebreaker boots I gave a horrible review after using them.


        Others, like the 'fix me stick' I smelled the scam out using a little research, then gave them the raspberry using the results of said research explaining why it's a scam.


        Other products I used, liked the results, and gave good reviews based on the good experience.


        Thing is, I'm not being paid....that's why it's legit and I'll fight it in court if push ever came to shove. When you get paid, that is where problems arise.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Floyd Fisher View Post

          Maybe you should ask the FTC that question. They got all over fake review sites that gave glowing reviews on certain products.

          Others, like the 'fix me stick' I smelled the scam out using a little research, then gave them the raspberry using the results of said research explaining why it's a scam.


          Other products I used, liked the results, and gave good reviews based on the good experience.


          Thing is, I'm not being paid....that's why it's legit and I'll fight it in court if push ever came to shove. When you get paid, that is where problems arise.
          Well, you can be sued by the product owner for defamation for writing bad reviews about products, particularly if you've never used them.

          A Yelp and Angie's List bad review
          Negative Online Reviews: Why You Can Be Sued for Defamation | TIME.com

          The verdict
          Yelper Found Guilty of Defamation for Scathing Reviews - Eater

          Are You Careful (Enough) In How You Phrase an Online Review? | Marketing Where Technology Intersects Life
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          • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            Well, you can be sued by the product owner for defamation for writing bad reviews about products, particularly if you've never used them.

            A Yelp and Angie's List bad review
            Negative Online Reviews: Why You Can Be Sued for Defamation | TIME.com

            The verdict
            Yelper Found Guilty of Defamation for Scathing Reviews - Eater

            Are You Careful (Enough) In How You Phrase an Online Review? | Marketing Where Technology Intersects Life


            I honestly hope the 'fix me stick' people come for me....I know how to do what they do for free, and giving me free publicity via a lawsuit might damage their business even worse than just leaving it alone.


            As Al Capone once said, "Don't sue....they might prove it.". :p
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            • Profile picture of the author AprilCT
              The Hutzler Banana Slicer has 5,170 reviews. Now I am sure Amazon has a lot of fake reviews. How many people are going to buy a banana slicer and review it? Come on, that's just embarrassing to admit you bought it.

              I do like the most helpful critical review that gave it two stars:

              "Angle is wrongByJim Andersonon August 2, 2012
              I tried the banana slicer and found it unacceptable. As shown in the picture, the slices is curved from left to right. All of my bananas are bent the other way."

              Oh, go see for yourself at http://www.amazon.com/Hutzler-571-Ba...ews/B0047E0EII

              I can't imagine these were paid reviews.
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              • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
                Originally Posted by AprilCT View Post

                The Hutzler Banana Slicer has 5,170 reviews. Now I am sure Amazon has a lot of fake reviews. How many people are going to buy a banana slicer and review it? Come on, that's just embarrassing to admit you bought it.

                I do like the most helpful critical review that gave it two stars:

                "Angle is wrongByJim Andersonon August 2, 2012
                I tried the banana slicer and found it unacceptable. As shown in the picture, the slices is curved from left to right. All of my bananas are bent the other way."

                Oh, go see for yourself at Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer

                I can't imagine these were paid reviews.
                Too funny. Sounds like some of my hotel guests. And employees (former).
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