Fiverr Community Forum

AMAZON Sues 1114 FIVERR Sellers

Fully agree with Anigrams.

In addition to what he has said, the lawsuit is against the users and not Fiverr. Fiverr Policy clearly states that if the user violates the Fiverr Policy, Fiverr will not defend them, so the users are on their own.

Please also note that Unjust Enrichment has multiple criminal clauses that can be invoked by prosecutors (if they take notice of these activities and decide to pursue the case independently) which include Wire Fraud, Racketeering and other sub-clauses.

Amazon reviews can be fake but Amazon has no way of proving that they are paid for fake reviews. This is a case of paid for fake reviews, which is treated as economic interference with those who are ethically trying to sell their products.

Paypal will also provide all the names promptly under the Civil Subpoena and then Amazon may use to pursue 2nd Tier cases in the country of origin of the named sellers. Amazon may settle the case on case by case with each seller basis how the named parties respond. Last time Amazon settled such case, the settlement payments were anywhere from between 7500 USD to 3.5 M USD each party plus legal costs.

The court where this has been filed has been known to pretty harsh with violations of any contractual terms and the Federal Appeals Courts have their position on contractual violation pretty clear i.e pursue the violators to the full extent. This is not a free speech issue as it involves a paid service as a transaction. Unpaid Reviews can be considered free speech, not these ones. In addition, the Amazon undercover investigators have diligently taken screenshots of the communications between sellers and buyers and they are a part of the exhibits.

This will end up very differently and may impact freelancers work all over the place which is sad as most of the freelancers are trying to earn money honestly.

“Unpaid Reviews can be considered free speech, not these ones.”

If that’s the case, then book writers who sell their books for profit don’t have the same First Amendment rights as bloggers and others who publish eBooks for free. However, that is not the case, Citizens United for example protects the First Amendment rights of corporations and groups. If Billy and his million friends want to buy political advertising that attacks a candidate, that speech is protected.

"the Amazon undercover investigators have diligently taken screenshots of the communications between sellers and buyers and they are a part of the exhibits. "

That sounds like entrapment, you pretend to be someone else, place an order, give instructions, and then go against the seller.

"This will end up very differently and may impact freelancers work all over the place which is sad as most of the freelancers are trying to earn money honestly. "

We shall see if that happens, I wouldn’t be too sure. Amazon has an attitude problem, they think they’re above the constitution. If Amazon wanted to close accounts of fake reviewers, I would understand that. But to sue them? That crosses the line, that’s the kind of thing that the ACLU gets involved. In this country, we have individuals rights.

Believe me, Amazon is gonna start getting a lot of hell. Those reviewers have friends, family, they are not alone.

First of all, I don’t remember reading any contract when I signed up on Amazon.

Secondly, Fiverr’s PR people have DEFENDED paid reviews in the media. In the Buyer’s Request section, there’s even a category called “reviews.”

Thirdly, Fiverr doesn’t prohibit this gig. Fiverr prohibit x-rated gigs, erotica gigs, reviews are fine. You just have to make sure not to use the words Amazon, Yelp, Google, or any that draw attention to them. Because if they complain about your gig, Fiverr has to take it down. However, if you have a Review gig that says “social media” or just “positive reviews,” that’s safe.

This is a free speech issue. A review is opinion, and whether the opinion is paid or unpaid is irrelevant, opinion is the highest form of free speech. If you say, “In my opinion, Jerry is a criminal” you can’t be sued for defamation because “in my opinion” means you’re not stating a fact. This is why the newsmedia uses the word “allegedly” a lot. "

Furthermore, in a defamation/libel defense, you have to prove damages, you have to prove the speech itself hurt you. Amazon can’t prove it, there’s no way to prove that people don’t buy books because of paid reviews. In fact, Amazon has BENEFITED from paid reviews. How many people have joined Kindle Unlimited to write paid reviews? How many have gig extras to get the money to buy books?

If Amazon sues reviewers, then reviewers can sue Amazon to get their money back. Then people who paid for reviews might sue Fiverr because they didn’t get what they bought. See the mess this will create? I don’t think Fiverr wants that, I also don’t think Amazon wants bad press.

Furthermore, you have no proof of Amazon Sellers, Halliburton, and The Carlyele Group doing anything illegal. Show me the convictions, show me the charges, show me the evidence? You can’t, because you have none.

If I sell books, it’s not illegal for me to buy reviews. In fact, Amazon even lets me “gift” my books to people if I want to, people who might will most likely leave a positive review.

Talk to a lawyer, you’ll see I’m right.

If Amazon Sellers don’t know that their own book has fake reviews, do you mean that the Author of a book let’s, say, who simply hired someone to help them do SEO and get better promotions complained because they found out the people they hired were buying illegal reviews?

I think that is all going to be part of it. A crack down on all fake reviews.

Wire fraud and racketeering is used against the mafia. A Fiverr seller is not a mafioso by any means. There’s no money laundering going on here, there’s no criminal activity. Bill hires Joe to read a book and write a review. That’s not a crime, that’s a job.

In fact, Amazon might have to sue themselves, I did a search for jobs and look at what I foudn:

Sr. SDE (lead)- Product Review Platform Owner
Amazon Vine, a global program, sends vendor-supplied products to our top reviewers in exchange for objective product reviews.

You really think those reviews are gonna be objective? Amazon is full of crap!

Entrapment is how they bust drug dealers, they send in undercover agents to make the buys.

But I don’t think this is a junk suit. The problem is Paid reviews are against the Terms of Use on Amazon. And Fiverr says in their terms of use that you must abide by the Terms of each third party.

So I am not sure what you are talking about regarind free speech. Free speech is you saying whatever you want out in public. In no way is Amazon a public space, it is a private website. It can have the rule that paid reviews are not allowed.

If you as an author wanted to go out and create yoru own server and your own website, yes, you can have paid reviews and say anything you want. That is what freedom of speech is. It’s not being able to say anything you want in someone elses private place of business which technically all websites are private places of business. People think being it’s the internet it’s all somehow public.

First of all, you need to go look what Amazine Vine is, it is not what you think it is. It is a whole separate review thing they have set up. It is not a user based review. Kind of like how someone at the New York Times write book reviews, they are paid a salary. Go look up what the Vine program is. And yes, do you tihnk the critic at the New York Times is going to write a great review for every book, no they don’t that’s part of the job.

But we are talking about are customer reviews.

So no, writing a fake review and being paid for it is not just a job, when the rules of Amazon say that is against their rules.

It is in the details for the Kindle book downloads and all the other fine print people never read for the sites they sign up for. Most people who sign up with Amazon to publish their books do not tend to read everything or all the links within everything they are supposed to read.

And the paid reviews that Fiverr is defending are the kind that you yourself pay to have someone give you a testimonial on your own website of your own product. That you can pay and have the most fake actors giving video testimonials and whatever you want. But those are not paid reviews that go against the third party website Terms which is a totally different scenario.

It will just be interesting to see how this plays out.

It’s not a junk lawsuit. I was just wondering about the legal technicalities.
This issue is about harming Amazon’s reputation with fake reviews for sale, and violating various consumer laws. It is not a free speech issue. Amazon has reviews which need to be somewhat trustworthy or if people know that anyone can pay to have a fake review written it will be harmful to Amazon’s reputation as a place consumers can get honest reviews of products. It’s a valid issue.

Entrapment is constitutionally dubious, and sometimes the victims of entrapment win. It’s not always used against drug dealers, sometimes a woman might seduce a guy only to demand money for s-e-x, then when he agrees, he’s busted.

Amazon is a public space, like a restaurant or a shopping mall. It’s not a private, members-only country club or a secret society. For example, Amazon isn’t allowed to ban blacks from using the website, or Republicans. They can ban people who break the rules, but here’s the thing, Amazon is too greedy to do that. Paid reviewers buy plenty of products on Amazon, not just eBooks.

And yes, the Internet is very public, I get that every social media platform has rules, but those rules are broken all the time. For example, Facebook tolerates a lot of antisemitic speech but they often persecute pro-Israel speech. I have reported people for violating Facebook’s rules against harassment, and 99% of the time my reports are ignored.

Frankly, all this show is how out of touch social media is with the users. People don’t want censorship, they want free speech. They want to be free to post reviews without getting sued. For example, I bought Wolfenstein The Old Blood at Game Spot, then I wrote a review on Amazon where I raved about the game. My review got replied, I didn’t get accused of being a fake (after all, I admitted where I bought the game), and the maker of that game benefits from my 5 stars.

That’s how the Internet is supposed to work. Do some writers buy reviews? Sure. Real estate developers also buy reviews, weight loss drugs, get rich quick programs, all kinds of people buy reviews. Why? Because products with no reviews don’t get sales.

Besides, in a lawsuit like this, Amazon has to prove damages. They can’t do that. They can’t prove that fake reviews hurt their brand. As a matter of fact, Amazon has collected a fortune from paid reviewers. Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 a month, so if 100,000 people are writing reviews, that’s $990,000 a month they’re making, at least.

Looks like Amazon started cracking down on fake reviews in general 6 months ago, with other lawsuits that shut down a few websites that exclusively sold Amazon reviews.

The issue started here as some buyers reported of problems with Sellers on Fiverr to FTC (Google It) which escalated into an broader look at whats happening with some sellers.

As a part of the fake reviews, fake testimonials process, FTC is likely to have approached these platforms (Like Amazon) who would have got into a investigation to avoid being fined by FTC for having fake paid reviews on their site after being made aware of it.

For Amazon to establish that the reviews are fake and paid, they need to carry out an investigation which they did here. If the reviews are fake but unpaid or Amazon cannot establish that the fake reviews are paid, then there is no issue at all.

The issue of economic interference applies when one party is trying to sell their good authentically and the second party is using fake and paid review to prop up their ratings. Then the authentic parties are being harmed.

Amazon on its own is unlikely to have done anything unless they were worried about being fined by a regulatory agency. Basis this, this whole situation is unfolding.

My premise is that this is a very big case and the real issue is likely to unfold in the next few days where the actual complaint (s) will surface. There will be major crackdown on such illegal freelance services.

Have you ever heard of a junket? Suppose Nissan invites a bunch of journalists to drive their Nissan Z’s from West Palm Beach to Key Largo, then puts them in a yacht and takes them to South Beach, then puts them in a hotel.

Now, what kind of reviews do you think that car will get? Chances are they will be glowing reviews. When you treat the media well, they return the favor. Even though journalists aren’t supposed to take gifts, plenty of them do.

The same goes with the media departments at advertising agency, TV station and magazines send them gifts so they keep placing ads on their media.

My former Creative Director got an iPhone from an editorial house where he was editing every Nissan commercial. Blood banks offer people free movie tickets to donate blood. See? We’re all traders, buying and selling.

By the way, will Amazon sue the writers that paid for reviews? I’m sure there are more than 1,000 writers on Amazon. Look at it this way, if Mary hires a hitman to kill her husband, and the hitman gets caught. Both she and the hitman are going to jail.

Therefore, not only must Amazon persecute the paid reviewers, but they must unpublish every book with paid reviews.

See what I’m saying? Amazon is being hypocritical, they’re persecuting the prostitute but not the pimp.

Go ahead, Amazon, unpublish every writer that has ever paid for a review.

What about the writers who pay for reviews? Aren’t they just as guilty? How come they’re not getting sued?

Sorry this is not entrapment. I have significant experience in this area and entrapment is you are seducing or prompting someone to commit a crime. Here the sellers are advertising that they are providing these so called borderline ethical issues and a seller buys it. Its being openly advertised so definitely not an entrapment.

I am in no way in favour of Amazon but in this case someone who has to dish out 10,000 USD to 50,000 USD to settle a case or being taken to court when publically in the news will deter others from going this way.

Amazon is free to bring a civil lawsuit but trust me, it has done under some external pressure (i.e FTC fines). So their motivation is much more than suing these sellers. The want to avoid a larger investigation into the reviews practice which may rake up shit.

Sorry but you are wrong here. Wire Fraud and Racketering is a fairly commonly used clause for basic low level malicious activity in multiple cases. I can guide you to the thousands of case laws if you are interested.

Amazon Vine is meeting the FTC guidelines in a way that the Vine Reviewers implicitly and explicitly disclose that they are reviewing a product professionally as they have received a free product to own or to review.

The party reading the reviews can ignore those reviews accordingly.

Once again, I agree that may reviews are not objective, but please note that this is very different issue.

Many Amazon review sellers–looks like they aren’t going away anytime soon:

Amazon Review Sellers

https://uk.fiverr.com/search/gigs?utf8=✓&search_in=category&source=top-bar&locale=en-GB&en_query=&query=amazon+reviews&category=2&sub_category=181&page=3&layout=auto

They are guilty but that is the job of FTC to prosecute them and ban them and ask all publishers to ban them from selling their wares. Trust me, it is coming soon.