The article explores, in detail, how there is a thriving black market for reviews for products and services, bought and sold in their thousands- written by robots, hackers, and enterprising gig workers in the developing world.
With both the public and government expressing concerns, it has been down to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to speak up. In June 2019 they have warned that both eBay and Facebook had listings and groups that were offering fake review services and they have urged both platforms to urgently review this activity.
In the very same week, the Wall Street Journal has also reported that a search engine consultant who raised concerns over phantom business listings, has been targeted with a wave of negative reviews about his own business.
Simon Wadsworth is quoted as saying “Competitors, ex-employees, ex-business-partners, ex-wives, whatever it might be, somebody with a grudge or somebody with something to gain by lowering the rating of another company,” and “It’s often quite a painful process. They feel that they should have a right to get these reviews removed, but that’s increasingly difficult to do.”
The article entitled “The five star factory: why Amazon, Google and TripAdvisor are plagued by fake reviews” appeared in The Telegraph in July 2019 and you can read the full article here.