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 has 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 confluence of trends in e-commerce: The number of products from third-party sellers on Amazon’s website is increasing, 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 now of what ‘fake’ means,” Khalifa said. “For example, in the books category, you might see authors asking their friends and family to leave reviews, which some might think is disingenuous. But when you look at this particular category, Bug Exterminators , you will find that this is the area where the game is over. It is one of the favorite products on the farm of fraudulent sellers.”

Khalifah said bug zappers are one of several categories of hardware products Fakespot has recently checked on Amazon because it has seen an increase in product listings and unreliable reviews. The exterminator listings it checked weren’t necessarily outright scams — buyers would still receive 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 buster reviews containing bug reviews for different products. One bug zapper has hundreds of reviews, but most are for capacitor motor fans; another bug zapper listing has 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 its stores offer a wide selection of merchandise and views, and have robust policies and guidelines. “Our technology continuously scans all products for sale for compliance, and if we discover that a product is not detected by our controls, we 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 it more complex to manage brand safety, but says tools such as image recognition and counterfeit detection technology make it possible to spot fake or counterfeit goods. Amazon also works with cross-border law enforcement agencies, including those in China, 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, 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 state that the analysis showed “68% of reviews were reliable,” but that “the review content was of lower quality.” Sometimes it also displays its own ratings to shoppers to compare with those on Amazon. A product with a four-star rating on Amazon might only get two stars on Fakespot.

The Fakespot tool has been criticized in the past because some believe its methods are vague and may unfairly label legitimate sellers. Three years ago, Amazon successfully lobbied Apple to remove Fakespot from the App Store, accusing it of providing misleading information. Fakespot has since returned to the App Store as Fakespot Pro Browser and Fakespot Lite.

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