SalesTech Star

Online Shopping Transparency: A Fakespot Vs. Goliath Conflict

Fakespot under fire as it champions consumer rights by exposing fraudulent reviews and counterfeit products to online shoppers on major platforms like Amazon

The Fakespot online shopping companion application was removed from the Apple App Store last Friday, July 16th after a takedown notice was delivered by Amazon in June of this year targeting the pro-consumer app. Fakespot, the desktop and mobile shopping guide, delivers real time analysis to its customers and features cutting edge machine learning details about whether or not ratings, reviews, or sellers can be trusted.

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A recent statement by Saoud Khalifah, CEO of Fakespot, to the Verge mentioned the removal of the shopping transparency app from the App Store occurred without proper notice from Apple and without any explanation or evidence of wrongdoing. Khalifah – a subject matter expert on fake reviews, counterfeit online products, and other eCommerce scams – also recently appeared on the BBC to discuss Amazon’s issues with these subjects. According to the takedown notice delivered by Amazon, Fakespot supposedly “provides customers with misleading information about [our] sellers and their products…”. The Amazon notice offered no support for that claim. Khalifah pointed out to the Verge that the Fakespot app is no different than many other apps on Apple’s App Store such as browsers and coupon apps that operate in similar ways.

Fakespot under fire as it champions consumer rights on major platforms like Amazon

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“We are a small 20-person team based in New York City that are supremely passionate about bringing back trust to the Internet and eradicating the problems you’ve failed so hard at fixing. While we are working on solving the problem of disinformation on the Internet, your team is working hard to destroy us” remarked Khalifah in an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Khalifah remains hopeful that a return to the App Store will be forthcoming.

Consumer protection watch dogs, business leaders, and the general public on social media outlets such as Twitter and Reddit are weighing in with opinions on the subject in favor of Fakespot’s mission, utility, and function.  

“Amazon’s reasons for requesting the takedown of Fakespot’s Secure Shopping App are baseless and an attempt to silence us from telling consumers the truth” remarked Fakespot co-founder and COO Rob Gross. Fakespot’s founders expressed bewilderment and believed that Amazon would appreciate Fakespot bringing trust and transparency to Amazon which is well documented to have fake reviews, unreliable sellers, and counterfeits. 

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