Amazon is cracking down on fake reviews. Last week, the e-tailer sued more than 1,000 Fiverr.com users who offered to write positive product reviews in exchange for payment, following its previous lawsuit against four websites for the same action.
“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 complaint reads.
Fake reviews threaten to tarnish not only the company’s brand, but also its bottom line. Reviews are a major driver of purchases, especially for tech devices, according to L2’s Digital IQ Index: Consumer Electronics. Nearly 60% of online shoppers consult reviews before buying electronics, and 40% say they would never buy electronics without first reading reviews. If those customers didn’t trust the reviews they read on Amazon, they might turn to competing retailers perceived as more reliable.
The L2 study finds that reviews have a particularly large impact on purchases over $1,000. For those costly devices, 39% of shoppers are influenced by third-party reviews, while only 22% make purchase decisions because they know and trust the brand.
However, for items that cost less than $400, the study finds that reviews are less likely to drive conversion than brand names and content taken directly from official websites. Cost is also significant. Shoppers rank the price of electronics as their top consideration, far outweighing technical specifications – suggesting that as long as Amazon offers branded items and prices them competitively, the impact of fake reviews might be limited.