Thursday, February 18, 2016

Plagiarized reviews on Amazon

Nina Paley [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
I use a website called Amazon. It's a shopping website where they sell, well, everything. One of the reasons that I like the website is that they allow buyers to review the products and ask questions. This allows me, as a buyer, to see more about the product then just the marketing spiel. 

When I have a distinct opinion about a product then I will do my part and write a review. I have a tendency to write detailed and constructive reviews. I figure what's the point of writing one if your not going to be honest about product and provide some feedback that other people can use. 

Over time my reviews have been noticed and recently I have been contacted by several companies and authors to review their products. Instead of a cash payment system, I am given the item for free, or for a very deep discount. This helps out newer companies because reviews can help their search ratings on the Amazon website, and often they re-publish, with permission, the reviews on the company website. In return I get free or deeply discounted products and books. It's a win - win. 

Until somebody steals.

I recently reviewed a lotion. I posted my review. A few days later an "anonymous customer's" posted a nearly identical review. They changed the title and the disclaimer, but the actual review was a literal cut and paste. To read the reviews click here for mine, and here for the plagiarized one

A quick review of the "anonymous customer's" other reviews shows several reviews which have been removed, probably because they were discovered to be fake or also plagiarized from real reviews. 

If you are going to go through the effort of reading all of the other reviews and then cut and pasting one so that it appears that you wrote you, then why not just write a review yourself? It's not that hard - unless you haven't purchased the product. And if you haven't purchased or used the product, then why are you writing a review? 

In a world where people are looking for easy money, writing fake reviews has to be one of the dumbest things that I have seen.