Amazon filed its first criminal complaints targeting fake review sites in Italy and Spain as the Seattle tech giant continues a legal fight against alleged sellers 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.”
And in Germany, Amazon sent warning letters to five websites directing visitors to a fake review broker. It said the websites have agreed to stop and signed a cease and desist letter.
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.
The lawsuits continue a legal campaign that dates back nearly seven years. 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.