Should You Get Paid to Write Fake Amazon Reviews? | 1099 - Mom
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Should You Get Paid to Write Fake Amazon Reviews?

By Melissa Batai

NOTE: Since writing this post, Amazon has gone after people selling fake reviews in court, as stated in this Mashable article.

In the last 15 years, the Internet has afforded many women the chance to make a comfortable living from home while also caring for their children. There are many ways to make money online, both ethically and unethically.

One of the newest ways to make money online, which can be quite lucrative, is to write fake reviews about a product for Amazon.

Here is a message posted in an online forum that shows exactly what I'm talking about:
"90% of the work (my work-at-home moms and dads) do are product reviews for ecommerce sites. They go to the product page to see all the features and then write about it as if they bought it. I typically charge my customers $35 per 500 words if its a review Depending on the "style" of the writing the prices... could be a little more."
A Good Deal for Writers of Fraudulent Reviews 

Todd Rutherford started a company in He offered to review a book and post his opinion to Amazon for $99. However, some authors wanted more reviews, so he would write 50 reviews for $999. It wasn't long before he was making $28,000 a month (The New York Times).

Surprisingly, Amazon does very little about these fraudulent reviews, even though they have the ability to detect them through IP addresses.

Undoubtedly there is money to be made in this business. Rutherford hired people to write 50 word reviews for $15. That doesn't sound like a good deal until you realize that the reviewers never read the books they were reviewing.

A Bad Deal for Authentic Writers 

Herein lies the problem. A working mother puts her product, perhaps her eBook, up on Amazon, and now she has to compete against others who have the money to pay for fake reviews to ardently endorse their books. She can't compete, unless she wants to pay for fake reviews, too.

Amazon's review system was designed so that real life customers could give their opinions on a product. A quality product should be obvious thanks to the 4 and 5 star ratings. However, the power of reviews is altered when the reviews are fake.

Bing Liu, a researcher at the University of Illinois, Chicago, estimates that as many as "one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are fake" (The New York Times). Even the bad reviews can be fraudulent when someone tries to sabotage someone else.

As a work at home mom, you know what you are willing to do to put food on the table. For some people, writing unethical reviews might be what they need. However, there are plenty of other women who are trying to be honest business people who are suffering as a result.

What do you think? Is writing a fake review to make ends meet acceptable?

Melissa is a freelance writer who is a homeschooling mom to three kids, ages 9, 4 and 3. She blogs at, where she writes about personal finance, family, homeschooling, and living with food intolerances.
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Linsey Knerl (the "1099 Mom") is a professional blogger, public speaker, consultant, and mom of 6!
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  1. Great post about a very relevant topic. As an avid Amazon shopper (and one who almost always scans the 1 and 5 star review comments), I'm against fake reviews. Ultimately, this will be a problem for Amazon as it grows, I think it will undermine the confidence of consumers such as myself who rely on "real" reviews of a product before buying.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, JB. I think the majority of people feel the way you do. Let's hope the industry straightens itself out!

  3. I always check reviews to see which ones say "Amazon Verified Purchase." Those are the ones I give the most weight to because with the rest of them, I realize it could be a fake review. I know that's not always the case -- especially with products and not e-books -- because there's a chance the item could have been purchased somewhere else and the reviewer just decided to leave a review on Amazon, too.

    I wish Amazon could put something in place to deal with all the fraud reviews! As long as it's so easy to get by with, people are going to continue to pay others to do it.

  4. I don't actually go by reviews when it comes to a product that's not medical. I rely on family and friends if I want advice on a book or most other products because they usually have an idea of what interests me. For me, the reviews don't really make a difference, but it's wrong because it misleads those who do rely on them.