FTC cracks down on Amazon ‘review hijacking’ with $600,000 fine

Illustration: Alex Castro / The Verge

The Federal Trade Commission has levied its first fine against a company for “review hijacking” on Amazon, or the act of repurposing reviews from another product in order to deceive users. The Bountiful Company, which makes Nature’s Bounty vitamins and other supplements, is accused of artificially inflating the number of reviews and ratings its products received on Amazon.

The agency claims Bountiful abused Amazon’s variations feature, which lets sellers merge products into a single listing when offering different colors, sizes, or quantities of the same item. Since these product variations share the same listing, this also means they share the same reviews and labels applied by Amazon, such as the “#1 Best Seller” or “Amazon’s Choice”…

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