Amazon’s top reviewers are thought to be making tens of thousands of pounds from offering 5-star reviews in exchange for free products.
Amazon UK is reportedly investigating its top reviewers after an investigation by the Financial Times found evidence they were receiving free items from Chinese brands, giving them 5-star reviews, then reselling them on Ebay.
The number one ranked reviewer on Amazon.co.uk, Justin Fryer, was found to have given a 5-star rating to £15,000 worth of products last month, the vast majority of which were from unknown Chinese brands.
Since June Fryer has also sold around £20,000 worth of “unused” goods on Ebay many of which were the same goods he had reviewed for Amazon just days earlier.
According to the FT’s investigation, nine of the UK’s top 10 Amazon reviewers had huge numbers of 5-star reviews for unknown Chinese branded products, many of which were found in groups and forums offering free products or money in exchange for reviews.
Fryer and at least two other top 10 reviewers removed their review history from Amazon after being approached by the publication.
After being contacted earlier this week, Fryer denied that he was receiving free products in return for positive reviews, adding that a “large majority” of the goods he had paid for.
“I have relationships with and I know some of the sellers,” he said. “My partner’s Chinese and I know a lot of the businesses over there . . . and I just review.”
Amazon said it would investigate the FT’s findings adding that it suspends, bans and sues people who violate its policies, which explicitly forbid “creating, modifying or posting” content in exchange for compensation.