NYTIMES.The trouble is that Amazon pointed blame at almost everyone involved in untrustworthy ratings, and not nearly enough at the company itself. Amazon criticized Facebook, but it didn’t recognize that the two companies share an underlying problem that risks eroding people’s confidence in their services: an inability to effectively police their sprawling websites.
Learning from the masses is a promise of the digital age that hasn’t panned out. It can be wonderful to evaluate others’ feedback before we buy a product, book a hotel or see a doctor. But it’s so common and lucrative for companies and services to pay for or otherwise manipulate ratings on all sorts of websites that it’s hard to trust anything we see.
The persistence of bogus reviews raises two big questions for Amazon: How much attention does it really devote to stopping bogus customer feedback? And would shoppers be better off if Amazon re-evaluated its essence as an (almost) anything-goes online bazaar?