The most popular bug killers on Amazon

Call it a bug buster, not a feature.

Data from Fakespot, a service owned by Mozilla that helps consumers spot fake reviews and scams on shopping sites, shows a strange increase in the number of bug exterminator listings on Amazon over the past three years. At the same time, Fakespot recorded an increase in the number of negative or unreliable reviews for this product category.

Saoud Khalifah, founder and director of Mozilla Fakespot, said the bug zapper is just one example of a recent convergence of trends in e-commerce: The number of products from third-party sellers on Amazon’s website continues to increase, and more merchants are looking to sell high-margin products at low prices and Generative AI tools make it easier for sellers to craft questionable marketing copy and reviews.

“Everyone has a different idea of ​​what ‘fake’ means these days,” Khalifa said. “For example, in the book category, you might see authors asking their friends and family to leave reviews, and some might You would think this is dishonest. But when you look at this particular category, exterminators, you see this is game over territory. It is one of the favorite products on the farm of fraudulent sellers. “

Khalifah said bug zappers were one of several categories of hardware products Fakespot checked on Amazon recently because it saw an increase in product listings and unreliable reviews. The listings for the exterminators it checked weren’t necessarily outright scams—the buyer still received a real exterminator—but Fakespot’s analysis showed that negative reviews indicated that some products didn’t seem to work as advertised.

In low-star reviews, buyers often complain that the bug zapper is just a glowing light without any real bug-killing capabilities. Fakespot also found bug zapper reviews where incorrect reviews for different products were placed. One exterminator had hundreds of reviews, but most were for capacitor motor fans; another exterminator listing had reviews for pens and paper products.

Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti said in a statement that shopping on Amazon is “safe, authentic and trustworthy.” She added that Amazon stores offer a wide selection of products and perspectives and have a robust Policies and Guidelines. sales to ensure compliance, and if we find that a product is not detected by our controls, we will immediately remove the product and improve our controls,” she said.

This week, Amazon released a new brand protection report, in which the company said it invested more than $1.2 billion in brand protection last year and hired more than 15,000 employees dedicated to stopping counterfeits, fraud, and fraud in its stores. Other forms of abuse. The company says it scans billions of attempted changes to product pages every day for signs of abuse.

The report acknowledges that the number of products in Amazon’s stores continues to grow, making brand safety more complex, but says tools such as image recognition and counterfeit detection technology make it possible to spot fake or counterfeit goods. Amazon is also working with cross-border law enforcement agencies, including Chinese law enforcement agencies, to identify and seize counterfeit goods, the company said.

striking similarity

Fakespot uses machine learning to scan product details and product reviews on e-commerce sites and then assigns a “reliability rating” typically based on the signals it picks up. For example, it might assign a “D” grade to a product listing and say that the analysis showed that “68% of reviews are reliable,” but that “the review content is of lower quality.” It may also sometimes display its own ratings to shoppers to Compare with ratings on Amazon. A product with a four-star rating on Amazon might get only two stars from Fakespot.

The Fakespot tool has been criticized in the past for what some consider to be bugs Ambiguity around its methods and the potential for it to unfairly label legitimate sellers.Amazon Successfully lobbied Apple Three years ago, Fakespot was removed from the App Store, accusing it of providing misleading information. Fakespot has since re-entered the App Store as Fakespot Pro Browser and Fakespot Lite.

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