back to article Amazon probes alleged bribery of staffers for data on e-tail platform

Amazon is investigating reports that its retail employees are selling internal data and reviewers' email addresses to merchants that want to game the system. The allegations, reported by The Wall Street Journal yesterday, come from insiders at Jeff Bezos' firm and sellers who said they had been offered, or purchased, such data …

  1. Terry 6 Silver badge

    You pay peanuts

    And you know the rest.

  2. Fatman Silver badge
    Stop

    "Reviews" on e commerce sites

    A simple rule to follow:

    Never believe that the review posted is both fair and accurate, and always assume it is a paid placement.

    You can not go wrong if you follow that example.

    1. paulf Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: "Reviews" on e commerce sites

      The problem is the reviews you never get to see because they were deleted before you got there.

      I've been mentioning this in El Reg comments for a few years now when Amazon's marketplace comes up in a story. I'm just an average Joe in the street and I get requests to remove negative reviews: both items and sellers. In one case a seller called me up one evening out of the blue and offered a 50% rebate on the item if I retracted a negative review which stated the item sent mismatched the listing photo (while the item sent still did the job and this was acknowledged in the review it didn't reflect the picture and as it was £7 it wasn't worth sending back). Amazon do obscure buyer's email addresses but phone numbers are provided as part of the invoice and delivery details (along with your invoice and delivery addresses).

      I always decline such requests as deleting justified negative reviews undermines the whole review system but I'm sure there are others who are more easily tempted by refunds and the like.

      One thing is certain - Amazon will not deal with this problem - they'll only do enough to make it look like they're dealing with the problem.

  3. Spazturtle Silver badge

    They only care because this was found out. Amazon have very little internal security for their shopping division, a good system would have automatically flagged this up for review and Amazon would have found out earlier and been able to fire the people responsible whilst making sure the public never found out.

  4. Flywheel Silver badge

    Reviews? What's the use?

    I use Amazon a lot, but increasingly I've come to decide that the reviews are largely worthless. When you (for example) look for an iPad cover, with 4 stars and above rating and get 30,000 products of the original 50,000 it makes you realise what an utter waste of time it is. Amazon need to stop flooding their own market with crap, get some proper reviews and maybe I'll trust them again.

    1-24 of over 30,000 results for Computers & Accessories : Accessories : Tablet Accessories : 4 Stars & Up :

    "ipad cover"

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Reviews? What's the use?

      Yeah, and dump the iPad - get an android tablet instead

      (hopefully obvious trolling)

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Reviews? What's the use?

        How can he when trying to search for an android tablet with 4 stars gives over 100 pages!

        (Yet more hopefully obvious trolling)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reviews? What's the use?

        "Yeah, and dump the iPad - get an android tablet instead"

        If you have an Android based device the dodgy apps installed would write their own 5 star reviews without user intervention.

        (Obvious trolling from disgruntled Android owner)

  5. IsJustabloke Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Amazon...

    perhaps they could consider paying their staff a proper wage and treating them as actual people adn then this problem would mostly go away.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Amazon...

      But then there prices wouldn't be competitive.

      They have gotten into trouble in Germany a few years ago, they allegedly use dirty tricks to con migrant workers to come over for seasonal work (E.g. Christmas). The transport (flight, bus etc.) is paid for to the Amazon depot, they are promised high wages, when they turn up, they are then told they will be getting a pittance of what they were offered, and if they don't like it, they can fund their own travel back home.

      But, of course, that wasn't Amazon, just their subcontractor. But they didn't fire the subcontractor or change the practice for the next year, according to the report.

  6. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    Sociopaths

    There are more around than you think there are, and they’re usually more successful in life than none sociopaths, and they breed

    Evolution 101

  7. SIP My Drink

    They will also hand over reviewers' email addresses so "Amazin" marketplace traders can ask reviewers to adjust or delete the review – often in exchange for free products.

    Last time I check - I Amazon was hardly amazin' :P

  8. spold Bronze badge

    Runs on EC2?

    Based on Elastic Compromised Cloud.

    p.s. knickers to that

    p.p.s guess those would go down often

  9. LDS Silver badge

    I was also surprised they delete comments and ignore corrections.

    Not long ago I commented some low rating reviews about a gaffer tape. The description was incorrect and buyers believed it was some type of strong repair tape, and were surprised it could be cut with hands, and it didn't "stick" hard to surfaces, but maybe on paper - exactly as you expect a good gaffer tape to behave, as it is designed to be removed without leaving traces. I also submitted a correction.

    Everything was ignored and never published.

    1. 0laf Silver badge

      Re: I was also surprised they delete comments and ignore corrections.

      I've also had negative reviews disappeared or refused on more than one occasion.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fake reviews or payment for clicks

    "Some staffers with the right access levels are reported to have accepted payment to reinstate people who have been booted off the platform, or to delete negative reviews."

    Sounds like Amazon hired ex-employees of Google's Play store.

  11. Spike of Bayswater

    Tone from the top

    Hilarious to see Amazon getting its knickers in a twist about unethical behaviour.

    Presumably the miscreants will be offered a senior management position once identified since they have evidently embraced the corporate ethos so whole-heartedly

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