At Amazon, customer ratings and the ratings of the products sold contribute significantly to their attractiveness in the search results. Unfortunately, the e-commerce platform has to redouble its regulatory efforts to spot false positives.
Yesterday, the electronic accessories brand, Aukey, got into an uproar over suspicion of engaging in this fraudulent practice. On Amazon, most of its products are not available in Europe, the US, and India.
After a data breach on a Chinese server, Amazon discovered numerous fake customer ratings for its products. This shows a number of campaigns by Amazon sellers (including Aukey) aimed at motivating customers to leave positive reviews by exchanging free products.
If the suspicion is confirmed, Aukey could have problems with the authorities and be fired from Amazon in addition. Consumer protection organizations could take over the case and punish the brand. In a tweet by the American journalist and developer Corbin Davenport, we discover one of the fraudulent campaigns in question:
I’m currently reviewing a standing desk from Aukey and it came with this note offering $ 100 for an “honest review,” which is against Amazon’s seller rules. No wonder Amazon is putting down the hammer. https://t.co/qkfpvbDyln pic.twitter.com/rW3VRcVr3x
– Corbin Davenport (@corbindavenport) May 10, 2021
An upcoming question
The data breach was discovered by cybersecurity firm Safety Detectives and was made known last week. No fewer than 200,000 users would be affected in a 7 GB file. Of course, they don’t understand that Aukey customers, other brands, and resellers on Amazon are also part of the case.
Now a bigger question remains unanswered. The database that hosted these user addresses is the tool that brands use to issue refunds to customers in exchange for positive reviews. It would, therefore, just as easily be charged with fraud, but it would not be possible at this point to trace its Creator.
“The server could belong to a third party who is approaching potential auditors on behalf of vendors. […] The server could also belong to a large company with multiple subsidiaries, which would explain the presence of multiple suppliers, ”Safety Detectives wrote in his report.