The fake review problem on Amazon


Amazon got a lot of press recently for going after fake reviewers.

Sadly, this problem has not gone away.

For example, let’s take this product on Amazon, which ironically has quite a few good real reviews (no idea why they have to get fake ones):



We have our first red flag — so many of the positive reviews are not verified purchases.

Simply clicking on the reviewer’s names shows that these are professionally paid reviews.  For example, both “Grant_Williams” and “Patrick K. Bracewell” amazingly have the same tastes — they both love breast pumps. In fact, they both love a lot of the same products.


Without going on ad nauseam, this pattern continues for other reviewers. They magically like the same products.

Other types of reviews come from “Reviewer Clubs”. Companies like AMZ Tracker, and others offer Amazon sellers the ability to get reviews from reviewers, in exchange for a free or discounted product. These are legitimate (and encouraged by some) and as long as the reviewer makes it clear that the review came in exchange for product, I don’t really have an issue with it.

Enter FakeSpot
Curious about a brand’s level of “fakiness?” Try FakeSpot. It will try spot the fake reviews.

Amazon, please change.
Reviews are a cornerstone of Amazon’s success, and allowing non-customers to post reviews has to end. Furthermore, Amazon can still do a lot more to make sure that fake reviews, even from “verified” customers, don’t happen. Their brand depends on it.


Social media scams using false identities

The Man Himself

Fake profiles are rampant on social media these days. I’ve even had my own photograph stolen to falsely connect to other people.

The purpose is invariably to spam you or to scam you. So you have to be careful.

I’ve written about this before.

So I thought I’d share a particularly pathetic attempt to scam me today.

I got an invitation from “Bruce Diaz”, representing himself as a tech columnist for the New York Times.

Who is “Bruce Diaz?”

Huh? Never heard of that name. A quick Google search shows no such man at the NY Times.

So I search for his image on Google (you should always do this on anything suspicious).

The search begins.

Hmm… no luck there:


So I go to TinEye, a reverse-image search engine and upload his picture.

TinEye to the rescue.

Bingo! It’s not “Bruce Diaz”, it’s “Attractive Young Man” on Shutterstock.


I reported it to LinkedIn. But you might still find him for the next few hours.

So don’t just accept a social media invitation with out checking!

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