Fake Posting Scam on Amazon Revealed

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) recently ousted an online merchant from its site that tried to “game” the retailer’s rating system.  The company, VIP Deals, was offering to rebate the full cost of its leather Kindle Fire cases, about $10, if they wrote a glowing review of the item on Amazon.  Customers would receive a letter when they received the item outlining the deal.  Before it was removed, the company had received almost 5,000 reviews with an average score of 4.9 out of 5.

So called “opinion spam,” phony reviews posted on sites like Amazon, is not a new problem. Reader opinions are valued very highly by consumers while making buying decisions, and many scam artists and unscrupulous retailers have tried to take advantage of that.  A growth industry of fake reviewers, who sell positive reviews for next to very little money, has become an issue for sites like Amazon, TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), and Yelp.

Here’s how these stocks are trading now:

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN): AMZN shares recently traded at $194.24, up $0.92, or 0.48%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $160.59 to $246.71. Volume today was 3,378,565 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,094,740 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 102.39, while trailing earnings are $1.90 per share.

TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP): TRIP shares recently traded at $31.30, up $0.25, or 0.81%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $23.99 to $32.33. Volume today was 978,929 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 2,140,000 shares.