Amazon cracks down on “sock puppets”

This is a smart move by Amazon. The online selling giant is taking legal action against more than 1,000 people it says have posted fake reviews on its website … reviews for which the people were paid to intentionally mislead consumers.


Phony online reviews hype everything from new cars and motion pictures.  Fake reviews about all the stuff Amazon sells —  electronics items and all manner of retail goods — will hurt Amazon’s reputation.  It’s the same with other online sellers.  All online retailers must keep the trust of their consumers or face declining sales.

“While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand,” the technology giant said in its complaint.

The practice of fake reviews intended to manipulate public perception has been around nearly as long as the Internet.  Some people call phony reviews, “sock puppets.”  It’s done all the time by political organizations with agendas to pitch.  Today, social media and the digital environment are awash in sock puppets, anonymously written and dishonest reviews to mislead buyers … leaving us to scratch our heads and ask, “who can we trust?”


B&H Photo in New York, the outstanding camera and electronics giant, started “verifying” reviews several years ago.  I must admit that I read only products reviews written by “verified” customers.  Amazon is taking it a step further with legal action.

Amazon says the 1,114 defendants, termed “John Does” as the company does not yet know their real names, offer a false review service for as little as $5 on the website, with most promising five-star reviews for a seller’s products, reports BBC News.

It’s all about Amazon and other online sellers focusing on enhancing that precious and sometimes delicate bond of trust with customers.