Amazon doesn’t find sites’ fake reviews so funny after issuing lawsuit

9 Apr 2015

With the average Amazon customer looking to a seller’s reviews for advice on whether to purchase something or not, the company is issuing a lawsuit to the alleged operators of sites offering fake reviews for cash.

This marks the first time that Amazon has taken the issue of fake reviews to the courts, specifically regarding the people behind a string of websites that sell four-and-five star reviews including,, and

According to Geekwire, California man Jay Gentile is the key defendant in the lawsuit, along with a number of other unnamed individuals behind the illegal reviews.

The scam was designed to trick Amazon into thinking that actual goods had been shipped, when in fact the fake reviewers taking part in the scam had been asking for those wanting to avail of the fake reviews to ship them empty boxes so as not to raise suspicion.

Part of a growing ‘unhealthy ecosystem’

It is clear from the wording of Amazon’s lawsuit that they do not see this as a small, two-bit operation, but as a worrying development that needs to be stopped in its tracks.

“Despite substantial efforts to stamp out the practice, an unhealthy ecosystem is developing outside of Amazon to supply inauthentic reviews. Defendants’ businesses consist entirely of selling such reviews,” the lawsuit said.

It also highlighted how one of the people who signed up to the scam failed to realise the process in a rather embarrassing incident.

“Indeed, one of the review sites – – even chastised a reviewer for complaining about not receiving the product, admitting, ‘All our reviewers know of the process and I am not sure as to why she sent this to you but I will ensure it does not happen in the future’.”

Among the charges being brought against those involved include the breaking of trademark agreements, fraud and deception, with Amazon wanting a cataloguing of the amount of money made.

Amazon screen image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic