It is not just the consumers who get tricked when a fake webshop appears on an otherwise trusted Danish internet domain. Even the international review community TrustPilot is cheated, so that phony webshops appear to have great reviews.
Danish IT Consultancy EIT recently did a survey of Danish domains and documented how expired domains are being systematically re-registered by persons with an apparent relation to China. In several cases, dubious webshops appeared on the re-registered domains, advertising cheap brand name products. According to experts, however, the consumers should be lucky to receive even a counterfeit copy of a poor quality if placing an order in such webshops.
The reviews on the Trustpilot community are linked to the domain rather than to the actual website., therefore a change of domain ownership does not affect the existing reviews on Trustpilot, making it possible for persons with a criminal intent to benefit from the reputation of the previous site and domain registrant.
According to EIT owner Henrik Bjørner, Trustpilot has an obligation to make sure this does not happen. One solution, Bjørner says, could be to set up a system to track whether a domain changes ownership with a view to manually reviewing sites that has recently undergone an ownership change.
Trustpilot acknowledges the problem, saying that it is very important that the customers can rely on their reviews, and that they will have a closer look at the extent of the problem.
Danish Minister for Business and Growth, Henrik Sass Larsen, has previously said that he often visits Trustpilot if he has doubts about a webshop. According to Henrik Bjørner, Trustpilot is not generally misleading, but it clearly has some issues that need be to be addressed.
The above is a summary of the article “Fup-webbutikker har gode anmeldelser på Trustpilot”.