18 votes

Amazon asked Apple to remove an app that spots fake reviews, and Apple agreed

11 comments

  1. [10]
    joplin
    Link
    Amazon doesn’t really have a choice of what other people write to display their website. I mean they can lobby Apple in this case, I guess, but fuck Amazon for thinking I can’t display their...

    Amazon said it reported Fakespot to Apple for investigation after it grew concerned that a redesigned version of the app confused consumers by displaying Amazon’s website in the app with Fakespot code and content overlaid on top of it. Amazon said it doesn’t allow applications to do this.

    Amazon doesn’t really have a choice of what other people write to display their website. I mean they can lobby Apple in this case, I guess, but fuck Amazon for thinking I can’t display their website any damn way I please.

    10 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      To be fair to Amazon and Apple, the reviews on Fakespot's Firefox, Chrome, iOS, Android, and Trustpilot pages suggest that its efficacy might be somewhat questionable. The browser add-ons also...

      To be fair to Amazon and Apple, the reviews on Fakespot's Firefox, Chrome, iOS, Android, and Trustpilot pages suggest that its efficacy might be somewhat questionable. The browser add-ons also require access to the data for all websites, and the phone apps require all sorts of strangely broad permissions as well, which is a bit suspect. And the method by which they supposedly detect fake reviews also honestly sounds like absolute bunk to me, since all they have said about it is that it utilizes "artificial intelligence that has been trained to pick up on patterns", but what exactly that means is unspecified.

      See also: https://www.fakespot.com/privacy-policy - They seem to collect a rather large amount of personal information, a lot of which seems to fall outside the scope of what you would expect them to collect... which they "may use... to provide you with targeted advertisements or marketing communications". And they also don't seem specify a data retention period anywhere either.

      So, I dunno. Amazon is kinda evil, but I don't think this company is necessarily the good guys either.

      15 votes
      1. babypuncher
        Link Parent
        It sounds to me like this app violates the App Stores ToS and Amazon was pointing it out because they don't like the premise. Amazon's motive was not genuine but Apples response was appropriate.

        It sounds to me like this app violates the App Stores ToS and Amazon was pointing it out because they don't like the premise. Amazon's motive was not genuine but Apples response was appropriate.

        8 votes
      2. joplin
        Link Parent
        Wow, that’s pretty disturbing! Thanks for pointing that out. Yeah I didn’t mean to imply these guys were the good guys. Just that no website has any control over what I do with the bytes once they...

        Wow, that’s pretty disturbing! Thanks for pointing that out. Yeah I didn’t mean to imply these guys were the good guys. Just that no website has any control over what I do with the bytes once they reach my device. That’s a pretty fundamental way the web works.

        3 votes
      3. NomadicCoder
        Link Parent
        I've not had a good opinion about Fakespot since I discovered that a few of my own product reviews were flagged as having a high probability of being fake.

        I've not had a good opinion about Fakespot since I discovered that a few of my own product reviews were flagged as having a high probability of being fake.

        1 vote
    2. [5]
      bub
      Link Parent
      We should all really just be doing it ourselves anyway. Want to know if there are fake reviews on an Amazon product page? Just add an element that's hard-coded to say "yes." Works every time.

      We should all really just be doing it ourselves anyway.

      Want to know if there are fake reviews on an Amazon product page? Just add an element that's hard-coded to say "yes." Works every time.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        I'm actually having the opposite problem with Amazon reviews to the one that people usually cite. For so many products, especially tech, half of the reviews are just useless reviews that mark it 1...

        I'm actually having the opposite problem with Amazon reviews to the one that people usually cite. For so many products, especially tech, half of the reviews are just useless reviews that mark it 1 star.

        For instance, this anker power brick. Featured reviews that show up on the page directly include

        2 stars: needs a special cable

        1 stars: Buyer beware, does not work with existing iPhones.

        2 stars: No LED indicator

        The first 3 words in the product title is "USB C Charger,". These days I often just ignore Amazon reviews because the featured page is just nothing but useless 1 star or 2 star reviews of perfectly functional products.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          trazac
          Link Parent
          My pet peeve is when a review specifically calls out ship time and shipment quality. If every shipment is very late, maybe that's worth knowing (but only maybe), and if every product is damaged in...

          My pet peeve is when a review specifically calls out ship time and shipment quality. If every shipment is very late, maybe that's worth knowing (but only maybe), and if every product is damaged in shipping that is worth knowing, but if you got your Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and its box was a little bit dented and took two extra days to ship I don't give a shit. It's immaterial.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            My biggest pet peeve is similar to @stu2b50's.... when people promptly got exactly what they ordered, and it even works perfectly as described, but it wasn't what they expected (because they...

            My biggest pet peeve is similar to @stu2b50's.... when people promptly got exactly what they ordered, and it even works perfectly as described, but it wasn't what they expected (because they clearly didn't read the product description or look at all the product pics) and so they rate it 1 star.

            E.g. "Works great but it's way too big and heavy!" 1 Star
            (even though the product description lists the exact product dimensions and weight)

            But on the opposite side, the reviews I really appreciate are ones that compare multiple similar products, and also reviews where people edit them X days/weeks/months later to either describe a failure of the product in that time, or instances when customer service helped them fix an issue they experienced which caused them to initially give a lower rating. Those ones are super helpful for figuring out what to buy and what to avoid.

            4 votes
            1. Thra11
              Link Parent
              If amazon and other companies collecting product reviews wanted to get more useful reviews, they should probably build this concept into their review system. When somebody receives their order,...

              reviews where people edit them X days/weeks/months later to either describe a failure of the product in that time, or instances when customer service helped them fix an issue they experienced which caused them to initially give a lower rating.

              If amazon and other companies collecting product reviews wanted to get more useful reviews, they should probably build this concept into their review system.

              When somebody receives their order, ping them to leave a review of their first impressions. Then 6 months / a year later, ping them to leave a new (linked) review now that they've been using it for a while.

              Even better, split the initial review into two sections, each with a rating and a comment. One review for the seller and shipping, one review for the product ignoring any shipping issues.

              You'll still get some noise, but I think disaggregating the data would lead to much more helpful reviews, and would allow them to weight the long-term reviews more heavily when calculating the "average" rating.

              3 votes
  2. petrichor
    Link
    I've always wondered: at Amazon's current scale, do they have any incentive to crack down on fake reviews? It seems the status quo is working pretty well for them. Maybe if they were a smaller...

    I've always wondered: at Amazon's current scale, do they have any incentive to crack down on fake reviews? It seems the status quo is working pretty well for them. Maybe if they were a smaller seller in a market with more competition, unreliable reviews might matter. But most people I know don't use Amazon for the reviews; they use it for the convenience.

    3 votes