"Brush evaluation" becomes the unspoken rule of e-commerce, and "buyer show" becomes a "seller pit"

To eradicate the chaos of credit speculation, we must improve the mechanism of mass prevention and mass management

□ Zhao Chenxi, reporter of this newspaper

As the saying goes, buy things to "shop around", but the online shopping era seems to subvert this experience, some consumers bluntly said, even "shop around" may still suffer, the reason is that some merchants take advantage of consumers' shopping psychology relying on evaluation, using false word-of-mouth marketing such as "brushing praise" to induce consumers to buy products that are not worthy of the name, so that the "buyer show" is reduced to a "seller pit".

"Brushing positive reviews is not a new thing, but an old problem that has been forbidden repeatedly." Chen Yinjiang, deputy secretary-general of the Consumer Rights Protection Law Research Association of the China Law Society, pointed out in an interview with the "Rule of Law Daily" reporter that such fraud-speculation is suspected of a variety of violations, which is not only not conducive to consumers choosing the right goods, but also disrupts the entire online shopping market.

There are a variety of ways to brush positive reviews

Zhao Xuan, who lives in Haidian District, Beijing, bought a new folding screen mobile phone some time ago, in order to protect this new machine, she browsed on an e-commerce platform for nearly two days before finally choosing a mobile phone case with a price of more than 200 yuan.

The reason why this phone case "stands out" from many products is that its praise rate is very high, not only that, Zhao Xuan found that many users have followed up after using it for a period of time and praised the quality of the product.

However, the carefully selected products "overturned" only three days after receiving the goods, because they accidentally supported the mobile phone placed on the sofa with the palm of their hand, and the mobile phone case, which was said to have a "drop-proof patent", was directly cracked.

After contacting the merchant, Zhao Xuan finally understood the "secret" that this store received rave reviews and even made customers crazy to review it.

"After receiving the goods, the merchant promises that as long as he gives a good review and distributes a picture, he can enjoy the free replacement of the product within one year." For Zhao Xuan, who has been shopping online for many years, this method of asking for praise is not unusual. When the product has quality problems, the merchant said that only need to take a 0.1 yuan postage link to re-send a new mobile phone case for her, but the premise is that under the previous comments, a follow-up review, with different words to introduce the advantages of this mobile phone case, and then the screenshot sent to the merchant, the new product will be sent immediately.

At this point, Zhao Xuan realized that she was "routine", and although she eventually refused the request of the merchant to review it, she knew that the graphic praise she posted at the beginning was also likely to cause other consumers to be deceived.

For online shopping, the experience from other consumers is often an important reference. To this end, major e-commerce platforms have not only set up evaluation systems, but also subdivided into many sections such as "product Q&A" and "buyer show" to guide consumers to publish comprehensive, detailed and true reviews. However, the original intention is to promote a fairer and more realistic consumption evaluation model, but it has become a channel for some businesses to induce consumers to "enter the pit" by any means.

In order to allow consumers to have "motivation" to participate, many merchants will choose models such as cashback for positive reviews, as long as consumers follow the requirements of the merchant, give five-star praise and comment a certain number of words, attach pictures, and send screenshots to merchants to get red envelopes of varying amounts.

In addition, the reporter noticed that some new stores selling relatively niche products such as trendy products and personality brands are often filled with a large number of exquisite praise of "dry goods", but after careful browsing, it is not difficult to find that these illustrated "sincere" comments, photo shooting angles, display details, etc. are extremely similar, which has to make people question that these evaluations that should be from different consumers contain "moisture".

Brushing orders and speculating letters forms an industrial chain

"The reason why many merchants are keen to brush praise is because according to the general algorithm rules of e-commerce platforms, products with high praise and large orders will have high exposure and ranking, and may appear in the list of recommended products of consumers." Liu Youyou, who operates a clothing store on an e-commerce platform, bluntly said that this operation can quickly drive sales, so that merchants can obtain considerable profits in the short term, and for similar clothes, mobile phone accessories and other more homogeneous goods or some newly opened stores, in the face of this "unspoken rule" also have to "join".

According to him, Liu Youyou's store has formed a large-scale industrial chain, which should be an evaluation that reflects the real feelings of consumers, and is regarded as a product "clearly priced".

In recent years, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the State Administration for Market Regulation and other relevant departments have repeatedly carried out special rectification actions to crack down on unfair competition behaviors such as credit speculation and false publicity, but such bill-brushing industries are still "dark and old", in the form of services such as "agent operation" and "optimized reviews". After investigation, the reporter found that these businesses became more vigilant and hidden.

"Give me 100 yuan, and return you a five-star gold medal shop that will make money." On the page of a brand operating a store, the reporter saw that there was no detailed introduction to the service, and hundreds of product reviews were just simple praise without text and picture description. The customer service reply was also extremely cautious, indicating that consumers should provide the details of their own stores before further consultation.

Tian Hanwen, a young man in Beijing who once joined a water army group, told reporters that the institutions that provide such services are similar to intermediaries, responsible for contacting merchants and "water army foremen", and then the "water army foremen" issue relevant tasks to other recruited water troops in the group.

With the continuous increase of crackdown and supervision, the means of brushing orders have become more and more hidden.

"The Internet will leave browsing traces, so you can't directly click into the target store to buy when swiping, but you must simulate the process of 'shopping around' when shopping online to the greatest extent." Tian Hanwen introduced, generally speaking, first search for product keywords, and then click into several non-target stores to browse the product page, after which the platform will recommend some stores that sell this product, find the target store to browse, view the evaluation, and finally purchase the product, confirm the receipt of the goods and praise.

"In most cases, brushing positive reviews means swiping orders, and merchants won't actually mail products." Tian Hanwen revealed that in order to distinguish it from real consumers, some brushing tasks will agree to put some special punctuation or symbols in the order remarks before starting, so that merchants will understand that they are brushing orders when they see the order, and newspapers, books, etc. will be used instead when mailing products. In addition, in order to avoid too concentrated order placement and confirmation of receipt, the same merchant's order business will be completed in different time periods, and the evaluation content and photos should also avoid similarity, the more "true" it is, the more expensive the price.

"Monthly income of sending auctions exceeds 10,000", "online auctions without deposit commissions"... On some social platforms, such job postings appear from time to time. After investigation, the reporter found that the so-called "sending and shooting" is essentially a kind of brushing, in order to achieve the effect of pictures and texts, the merchant will express the product to the sender, let them take photos and post articles, pretend to be a high-quality "buyer show", so as to obtain commissions.

It is necessary to establish a mechanism for mass prevention and mass management

In recent years, in response to acts such as order speculation, relevant departments have been continuously increasing their efforts to crack down on rectification. Recently, the Shanghai Municipal Administration for Market Regulation announced a case of medical beauty institutions hiring gunmen to write false "notes on planting grass". In order to improve the ranking of its online store, the institution commissioned others to swipe orders, fictitious the number of positive reviews and published a number of false notes, and finally the institution involved was administratively fined RMB 20,<> according to law for violating the provisions of the first paragraph of Article <> of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law.

"The praise 'swiped' not only seriously misleads consumers' decision-making and disrupts the normal market competition order, but also acts of data fraud and touches the legal red line." Liu Junhai, a professor at the Law School of Chinese Minmin University, pointed out that on the one hand, the act of credit speculation violates consumers' right to know and fair trade. On the other hand, it also violates the relevant provisions of the E-Commerce Law that e-commerce operators must not conduct false or misleading commercial publicity to deceive or mislead consumers by means of fictitious transactions, fabricated user reviews, etc. Article 8 of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law stipulates that proprietors must not make false or misleading commercial publicity about the performance, function, quality, sales status, user evaluation, honors, etc. of their goods, so as to deceive or mislead consumers.

In Chen Yinjiang's view, the current means of credit speculation are getting closer and closer to "real", and the main body of operation is both specialized companies and a large number of online part-time people, which increases the difficulty of supervision and crackdown by relevant departments.

"It is necessary to establish and improve the mass prevention and mass management mechanism to prevent the recurrence of ashes." Chen Yinjiang pointed out that the act of brushing orders undermines the platform's credit evaluation system, and the platform should strengthen responsibility, establish and improve the credit evaluation system and the punishment mechanism for data fraud, and use technical means to monitor and manage relevant data, and once abnormal behavior is found in the data, promptly investigate and deal with it, and provide clues to the regulatory authorities. The act of brushing orders involves market supervision, internet information, public security and other departments, and departments should establish a collaborative governance mechanism, increase the intensity of supervision, and use scientific and technological means to improve the level of supervision capacity, once it is found that the enterprise has a data fraud problem, it should be severely punished in accordance with the law and publicly exposed to the public. In addition, consumers and other social organizations discovering that enterprises have data fraud or other violations of laws and regulations shall promptly complain and report to the relevant regulatory departments, improve the ability and level of social co-governance, and prevent criminals from taking any chances.

In addition, Chen Yinjiang suggested that the criteria for determining the behavior of "brushing orders and speculating on letters" should be further refined from the legal level, and after discovering the problems, the industrial chain behind them should be identified, the punishment should be increased, and the cost of violations should be increased.

"The reason why merchants are keen to 'brush reviews' is not unrelated to the evaluation system adopted by online platforms." Liu Junhai pointed out that the platform should study and build a more reasonable evaluation system, search results, rankings, etc. should be truthful, comprehensive and objective, and adjust and improve the current scoring mechanism to create a more level playing field and not be distorted by commercial interests. (Rule of Law Daily)