The Which? investigation dug into the lineup of cameras, smart watches, headphones, fitness trackers and other small tech items offered on Amazon and unearthed some fishy details:
- Some of the top-rated brands in different categories were brands tech experts had never heard of, like Ktaoism, Gejin, ZagZog and Vogek.
- A bulk of the reviews on questionable products were from unverified purchasers. (In an effort to combat the widespread problem of fake product reviews online, Amazon has a “Verified Purchase Review” program, where the company indicates what reviews are written by people who actually purchased the product and did so without significant discount or incentive from the seller. Unverified reviews can still be published, but don’t bear Amazon’s seal of approval.)
- Of these unverified reviews, a significant portion of them were perfect 5-star reviews.
- Thousands of reviews appeared for just a few products from these unknown brands, which according to Which? is an “an easy-to-find red flag.”
- Finally, large floods of these unverified, unanimously perfect reviews “arrived on a product listing on the same day, or in a short space of time,” according to Which? “This sort of activity often involved duplication or repetition of reviews. We even found instances of positive reviews for entirely different products appearing on a listing.”
CNN has reached out to Amazon for comment. “Even one inauthentic review is one too many,” the company told Which? “We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and we suspend, ban, and take legal action on those who violate our policies.”