Amazon announces legal action to fight fraudulent affiliate marketing programs




Amazon today filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Washington against several people whose names have not yet been named for carrying out an illegal advertising program. The bad actors in question are using Amazon’s name in text messages and on fake surveys as part of an affiliate marketing program. The lawsuit allows Amazon to expand its investigation and hold the bad actors accountable. The lawsuit is part of the company’s growing efforts to protect consumers from schemes that fraudulently use Amazon’s name.

The bad actors in these schemes profit by creating scam text message campaigns that drive traffic to advertisers and websites. These fake text messages are intentionally designed to trick unsuspecting consumers into clicking a link using Amazon’s name and offering the recipients “rewards” or other “freebies.”

Instead, victims are redirected to a website to take a survey, which also fraudulently uses Amazon’s brand and promises a reward for participation. After participants click to claim their reward, they are sent to online marketers, advertisers, and websites to purchase products or services unrelated to Amazon. Defendants take advantage of fees paid to them by affiliate marketing networks and advertisers for fraudulently created traffic.

Amazon invests significant resources in protecting its customers and its brand, and is used to identifying and shutting down similar operations. Amazon has already filed five lawsuits against fraudulent affiliate marketing programs, won multiple court injunctions to end illegal activity, and made deals with seven parties in which they agreed to stop their campaigns and pay. over $ 1.5 million in damages.

Statement (attributable to Kathy Sheehan, Vice President, Business Conduct and Ethics, Amazon)

“Amazon works hard to create a great and reliable experience for our customers and our sellers. These bad actors are abusing our brand to deceive the public and we will hold them accountable. We also want to remind consumers to be vigilant and learn to recognize the signs of a scam so that they are protected no matter where they shop.

Additional context:

  • Case: 2: 21-cv-00627, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

  • The Better Business Bureau offers simple tips on how to recognize and avoid scams,

  • In March 2021, the U.S. District Court of Utah issued a Federal Trade Commission order against four companies for operating a telemarketing program that fraudulently used the Amazon Associates name to provide bogus work-from-home opportunities. .

  • In June 2020, Amazon shut down three email affiliate marketing programs in Michigan, Colorado, and California.

  • In April 2019, Amazon blocked Illinois-based affiliate marketer First Impression Interactive, Inc., and its owners from advertising bogus home jobs with Amazon. Thanks to Amazon’s efforts, First Impression and its owners are now prohibited from using the Amazon brand in any future marketing.


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