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Amazon Targets 'Fake Reviews' in Lawsuit

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Amazon is launching lawsuits against at least 1,000 users for posting what it described as fake reviews. The suit, filed in Seattle, targets freelance writers who have been charging $5 per review on Fiverr.com. Amazon said it is not interesting in suing Fiverr, but wants to halt the creation of fake reviews.

The online resale giant has a problem with its legal action, however, in that it doesn't know who to sue. That's why Amazon is listing "John Doe" in its suit. The company reported it will add the names of the defendants at a later date, once they identify the suspects--"presumably," Fortune reported, "by asking Internet providers to provide their IP addresses."

Amazon said it conducted an "extensive investigation" into the Fiverr users and found some of the alleged abusers "tried to dodge Amazon.com's review controls" by posting from different accounts.

"Most of the defendants offer positive or 5-star reviews for Amazon sellers' products. Indeed, many encourage the Amazon seller to create the text for their own reviews," the complaint reads.

CNN Money reports that Fiverr wouldn't comment on whether it would assist in the investigation, but would "continue to ban sellers who sold fake reviews."

"The challenge of merchants soliciting illegitimate reviews is one that faces all marketplaces and online platforms," Fiverr said in a statement. "In fact, in our own marketplace we restrict reviews to only those who we can verify have actually purchased a service."