The people who write fake Amazon reviews

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/04/17/the-people-who-write-fake-amaz.html

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How about a profile the many people that answer questions on Amazon product listings with useless things like, “I don’t know!”

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Amazon employees curate lists of links to funny fake reviews for their own amusement. When I worked there the company wasn’t enforcing the policies against this. It’s not so much a conspiracy (at least from my point of view) but a bit of unprofessional behavior that was weirdly tolerated in an otherwise data obsessed company culture.

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Yeah, I’ve come to mistrust pretty much every 5-star review I read online, whether it’s Amazon or Yelp. There are some exceptions, but now I check out multiple sites, or see if there’s a youtube video where someone is actually holding and using the product (for tech items), or else I will skip right to the 1-star reviews and work up.

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I’ve never reviewed an article before but I couldn’t help but review this one.
It suits my needs in every imaginable way.
ELEVENTY STARS !

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I would like to be able to buy genuine products, Canon camera batteries and chargers, for instance, but there seems to be nowhere this can be done online. Can’t trust the reviews, and Amazon and other retailers don’t seem to require any kind of honesty from their partners. I would be happy to pay a premium to get the real stuff-- compatible is not always the same as comparable.

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Aren’t there laws against false advertising?

“I think it’s bad, but everyone’s doing it” may yet be our collective epitaph.

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In the Skiving Snackboxes next to the Fainting Fancies, I think?

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It’s pretty easy to spot the fake reviews – there will be about 50 5-star reviews appearing on the same day for a bathroom scale, for example. They tend to be 2 lines long and say almost exactly the same thing – not generated by AI, but by the uncreative masses. It reminds me A LOT of what I would write in grade school for every single book report I ever did. It’s an assignment, and a boring one, so you just crank out a very lame and unconvincing couple of lines.

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The whole review culture is useless. What kills me are the customers who leave 3-star reviews saying, “haven’t used the product yet; will update this review when I have some experience with it.” But that review is 3 years old with no update. That person will never come back and update the review, and the product is skewed because of it. On Amazon, anything less than 5 stars is effectively negative.

We used to get multiple inquiries per day from people wanting to “review” our products. They wanted us to create a giveaway coupon code for them so that they get a free product (while still being a Verified Purchase), and in exchange they’ll provide their “honest” thoughts on the product. I’m not giving you a $250 knife for a 3-line Amazon review.

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I’ve seen television reviews that make reference to the non-existent DVD player. Fake reviews, or Amazon badly migrating old reviews to new products?

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https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?sts=ps&fct=fct_brand_name|canon&N=0&Ntt=canon%20camera%20battery

Seems pretty easy to find Canon OEM batteries on line. Amazon is not the place I’d look, though, since there have been problems with counterfeits in its sloppy supply chain.

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I’ve reported reviews where the reviewer explicitly notes that they neither own nor have used the product. Inexplicably, Amazon has left those “reviews” up. :-/

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Not caring.
Cynicism.
For pay, even.
This is how end of… uh… civilization? humanity? the planet? begins.

And certainly this is the very thing that late stage capitalism depends upon.

I’d attribute this “gentleman’s” behavior to sociopathology but for this:

Being complicit in subverting one’s own humanity by any entity (corporation or otherwise) isn’t a mere sellout of self, it’s a sad betrayal of all in the human community. And I sense that sellout came rather cheaply–a bargain, which all Amazon users are looking for, correct?

Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.

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I’m sure that would glean very enlightening replies, such as “How did you get inside my monitor?”

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Occasionally I receive emails from Amazon asking me to answer a question related to a product I have purchased. I’m assuming these are people who received that type of email and failed to understand that the question wasn’t directly intended for them. But it’s still hilarious.

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I stopped caring about cynicism a long time ago.

(And don’t get me started on what I believe about nihilism.)

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Amazon used to pester me to review products on my mobile. I suspect many of the “I don’t know!” type reviews were ones carelessly solicited by Amazon.

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Many years ago I bought a hard drive off of Amazon. When reading the reviews there basically 2 kinds, those who successfully installed it and liked it and those who couldn’t and hated it. You would see comments like 'I never had this problem with Seagate" then over at the WD reviews you woulds see “I never had this problem with WD” and of course they all claimed to be experts who installed many drives. Bottom line is that I take reviews with a grain of salt.

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