We talked about Amazon just a few days ago in our Interval podcast. There is no doubt that the e-commerce platform has benefited from the situation in which the vast majority of the world's population found themselves due to the pandemic: the lockdown has favored online purchases, but there are those who have taken advantage of it to profit from it. illegal. Not that this didn't happen before, but it is certain that the e-commerce boom has also encouraged illicit behavior.
The discussion focuses on review published by users: in the United Kingdom, Amazon was forced to delete as many as 20,000, written and published by 7 of its 10 main reviewers. The investigation launched by Financial Times has brought out a circle of "favors" between reviewers and small sellers, many of them of Chinese origin. In practice, companies offered products as gifts in exchange for a positive review. All satisfied, therefore, both the seller who got good publicity, and the reviewer who pocketed the goods for free. Too bad, however, that the users were the losers, unaware of these activities.
Among the reviewers investigated is Justin Fryer, one of the most active on Amazon UK, who in August alone reviewed products for 15,000 pounds (almost 17,000 euros), including smartphones, electric scooters and fitness equipment. The same user then put the same products up for sale on eBay – described as "never used", "like new" – earning 20,000 pounds. In short, the technique was this: I receive the products for free in exchange for a positive review and I resell them on eBay (among other things at a higher price). Among these was also an electric scooter, defined by Fryer on Amazon "my favorite game". As it happens a week later the same model of scooter was selling it on eBay …
Amazon said it will continue investigations to see if there are other cases of false reviews on its platform, ensuring suspensions, bans and complaints to those who violate its rules. After all, it is not the first time that Jeff Bezos' company finds itself having to counter similar behaviors: Amazon has always stated that inauthentic reviews represent less than 1% of the total, but there are those who estimate that the figure can be definitely taller.