Amazon has filed first criminal charges against fake review websites in Spain and Italy. The Seattle-based tech company continues to fight the alleged seller of fake product reviews.
The company said Thursday it filed a lawsuit against a “high-profile broker” in Italy selling fake reviews that allegedly has a network of individuals who buy products, post 5-star reviews, and get a refund.
Amazon is targeting Agencia Reviews in Spain, which it says uses a similar strategy and communicates with sellers and customers via Telegram to “evade detection.”
Amazon in Germany sent warning letters to five sites directing users to a false review broker. It stated that five websites had received warning letters from Amazon directing them to a fake review broker.
The company also said it filed an additional 10 lawsuits in the U.S. against fake review brokers and “other bad actors attempting to game Amazon’s ratings systems.” It filed four related lawsuits in Seattle this week against sites including Amzonreview.com, Usatopsmm.com, Worldtopseo.com, and buyreviewservice.com.
This lawsuit continues a seven-year-old legal campaign. Amazon filed its first-ever lawsuit over fake reviews in April 2015.
Earlier this year Amazon took aim at Facebook group administrators that organize marketplaces “for the purchase and sale of fake reviews.”
Last year a U.K. regulator opened an investigation to assess whether Amazon and Google were doing enough to address fake reviews, which can improve a product ratings or search rankings.