Bug Zappers Running on Amazon

Call it a bug zapper, not a feature.

Data from Fakespot, a Mozilla service that helps consumers spot fake and fraudulent reviews on shopping sites, shows a dramatic rise in Amazon’s bug zapper listings over the past three years. At the same time, Fakespot has increased the number of negative or unreliable reviews of the group.

Saoud Khalifah, the founder and director of Fakespot at Mozilla, says that bug zappers are just one example of a recent change in the business environment: the number of listings from third-party sellers on Amazon.com, more merchants who want to sell cheaper. Products with high margins, and artificial intelligence tools that make it easy for marketers to filter out suspicious ads and reviews.

“Right now everyone has a different definition of what ‘false’ means,” says Khalifah. “For example, in a book group, you might see an author asking friends and family to leave their comments and some people might find that inappropriate. But if you look at this group, the bug zappers, it’s part of the game. It’s one of their favorite things. in fraudulent sales farms.

Khalifah says bug zappers are one of several categories of hardware products that Fakespot has recently reviewed on Amazon because it has seen a rise in product listings and unreliable reviews. The bug zapper reviews they’ve reviewed aren’t fake — consumers still receive bug zappers — but Fakespot’s review says negative reviews show some of the products don’t seem to work as advertised.

Among the small reviews, consumers often complain that the bug zapper is just a bright light with no real killing power. Fakespot also found incorrect comments on various items posted among the reviews of bug zappers. One bug zapper had a lot of comments, but a lot was written about the capacitor fan; another bug zapper thread had comments about the pen and paper goods.

Amazon spokeswoman Maria Boschetti said shopping on Amazon is “safe, authentic, and reliable.” He said his store offers a wide range of products and ideas and has strong principles and advice. “Our technology continuously checks all products being sold for compliance, and when we find that a product is not recognized by our controls, we remove it immediately and make corrective actions,” he said.

This week Amazon released a new report on Brand Protection, in which the company said last year it invested more than $1.2 billion in brand protection and employed more than 15,000 people who are dedicated to preventing falsehoods, fraud, and other abuses in its store. . The company says it monitors billions of web page changes every day for signs of abuse.

The report acknowledges that the volume of products in Amazon’s store continues to grow, making managing brand safety more difficult – but says tools such as image recognition and counterfeit detection technology can help spot fake or fake products. Amazon also works with cross-border law enforcement agencies, including law enforcement in China, the company says, to identify and seize counterfeit goods.

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Fakespot uses machine learning to analyze information about sales and product reviews on ecommerce sites, then assigns a “trust grade” based on the signals it pulls in. It can, for example, assign “D” to the product list and display it. the review shows that “68 percent of the reviews are reliable” but “the product reviews are low.” Sometimes it also displays its own ratings so that the buyer can compare them with Amazon’s ratings. A product with four stars from Amazon may only get two stars from Fakespot.

The Fakespot tool has been criticized in the past for what some people see not clear around his methods and his ability to name authorized dealers. Amazon recommended Apple removed Fakespot from the App Store three years ago, saying it provided false information. Fakespot has been brought back to the App Store as Fakespot Pro Browser and Fakespot Lite.

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