The Struggle Against Deceptive Online Reviews: Amazon, Glassdoor, and Others Unite

by Michael Nguyen
Fake Reviews

In an effort to combat the pervasive issue of fraudulent online reviews, several prominent platforms in the realms of e-commerce, employment, and travel have come together. Amazon, renowned for its expansive online marketplace, joins forces with Glassdoor, a prominent reviews platform for workplaces, and Trustpilot, a trusted name in consumer reviews. Additionally, travel industry giants Expedia Group, Booking.com, and Tripadvisor have joined this initiative. Together, they have announced the formation of the “Coalition for Trusted Reviews,” a collaborative endeavor aimed at safeguarding the integrity of “trustworthy consumer reviews” on a global scale.

The primary objective of this coalition is to establish best practices for hosting online reviews and to share methodologies for identifying counterfeit ones. This involves the development of clear standards to distinguish fake reviews from genuine ones, as well as the dissemination of insights into the tactics employed by unscrupulous actors.

Deceptive reviews have long plagued online marketplaces, persisting despite rigorous efforts to combat them. A significant contributor to this issue is the involvement of intermediaries who, in exchange for financial compensation, complimentary items, or other incentives, solicit fraudulent customer reviews through various channels, including social media platforms and encrypted messaging apps. These intermediaries can artificially inflate the ratings of businesses or sellers through positive reviews, while simultaneously tarnishing the reputations of competitors with negative feedback.

Notably, Amazon recently took legal action against two review brokers in China who were found guilty of using messaging apps to promote and sell counterfeit reviews to Amazon sellers. The company has pursued multiple lawsuits in the past year against individuals engaged in similar activities. Moreover, Amazon filed a lawsuit against the administrators of over 10,000 Facebook groups accused of coordinating fraudulent reviews in exchange for monetary rewards or complimentary products.

In addition to these developments, it came to light that Facebook groups engaged in the exchange of reviews for platforms such as Google and Trustpilot were discovered earlier this year by the British consumer watchdog group “Which?”

Federal regulators are also intensifying efforts to combat deceptive reviews that mislead consumers. In June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed new regulations, which, among other provisions, seek to prohibit businesses from either selling or procuring fraudulent reviews, suppressing honest feedback, or engaging in the sale of counterfeit social media engagement. Businesses would also be barred from maintaining or controlling websites that claim to provide impartial evaluations of their products. Furthermore, the practice known as “review hijacking,” wherein reviews for one product are presented as though they were intended for different items, would also be prohibited under the proposed regulations. Violators could face penalties if these measures are adopted.

Becky Foley, Vice President for Trust & Safety at Tripadvisor, emphasized the immediate focus of the coalition on identifying and addressing the actors behind fake reviews. She highlighted that these individuals often operate outside of jurisdictions with legal mechanisms to curtail fraudulent activities, making robust cooperation among industry leaders all the more crucial.

The genesis of this coalition can be traced back to the “Fake Reviews” conference organized by Tripadvisor in San Francisco last year. The companies involved have confirmed plans to convene once again in early December, with Amazon hosting a second conference in Brussels. These gatherings are pivotal in advancing their collective mission to combat deceptive online reviews and ensure the transparency and reliability of consumer feedback.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fake Reviews

What is the purpose of the Coalition for Trusted Reviews?

The Coalition for Trusted Reviews, consisting of Amazon, Glassdoor, Trustpilot, and major travel companies, aims to combat fake reviews and ensure the availability of reliable consumer feedback worldwide.

Why is the issue of fake reviews a concern?

Fake reviews mislead consumers, harm business reputations, and create an unfair marketplace. They are often solicited by brokers through various channels.

How will the coalition address this problem?

The coalition will establish best practices for hosting online reviews, define standards for fake reviews, and share methods to identify them. It also plans to hold conferences for further collaboration.

What actions have Amazon taken against fake reviews?

Amazon has pursued legal action against review brokers and administrators of Facebook groups involved in fraudulent reviews. They are committed to tackling this issue.

What are the proposed regulations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)?

The FTC aims to prohibit businesses from selling or obtaining fake reviews, suppressing honest feedback, and engaging in counterfeit social media engagement. Violators may face penalties.

When did the coalition originate, and what are its future plans?

The coalition began as a result of the “Fake Reviews” conference organized by Tripadvisor last year. They plan to convene again in December, with Amazon hosting a second conference in Brussels to advance their mission.

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globetrotter October 22, 2023 - 5:45 am

Tripadvisor leadin the way! Keep those reviews honest.

fb_reviews October 22, 2023 - 9:38 am

Facebook groups caught too? scandalous stuff!

review_rules October 22, 2023 - 11:20 am

FTC regs lookin serious. fake reviews gotta go!

econoguy October 22, 2023 - 12:49 pm

Good to see these big companys teamin up. they shud hve done it long ago!

travelfreak October 22, 2023 - 1:21 pm

travel sites in on it too? thats a big issue on tripadvisor. hope this helps.

cryptoking October 22, 2023 - 8:25 pm

so theyr fightin fake reviews. bout time! fake revws realy mess stuff up.

financewizard October 22, 2023 - 11:56 pm

Amazon means business. theyre not playin with those review brokers.


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