Scammers’ AI Mistakes on Display in Amazon Product Descriptions

For sale on Amazon: dozens of products labeled “I cannot fulfill this request.”

Actually, the exact wording is, “I’m sorry but I cannot fulfill this request it goes against OpenAI use policy,” an error message from the artificial intelligence (AI) company.

Descriptions like these, according to a Saturday (Jan. 13) report by Ars Technica, are the result of scammers flooding Amazon with shady products with descriptions written using AI and then posted.

For example, a since-removed description for a table and chair set reads: “Our [product] can be used for a variety of tasks, such [task 1], [task 2], and [task 3].” 

The report noted that using large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to create product descriptions or names does not go against Amazon’s policy. 

In an emailed statement to PYMNTS, Amazon spokesperson Kristina Pressentin said: “We work hard to provide a trustworthy shopping experience for customers, including requiring third-party sellers to provide accurate, informative product listings. We have removed the listings in question and are further enhancing our systems.”

Amazon in September unveiled a generative AI tool designed to help sellers describe their products. 

“Our models learn to infer product information through the diverse sources of information, latent knowledge and logical reasoning that they learn,” Robert Tekiela, vice president of Amazon Selection and Catalog Systems, said at the time. “For example, they can infer a table is round if specifications list a diameter, or infer the collar style of a shirt from its image.”

Ars Technica added that the error-filled product descriptions only account for a handful of products. Still, the report said, these listings showcase the lack of care scammers display when they spam the marketplace.

The news comes weeks after a report that Amazon merchants were unhappy with the company’s AI tool that highlights customers’ product reviews. These sellers argue the tool focuses too much on negative reviews, and in some cases gives inaccurate product descriptions.

PYMNTS also reported in October on Amazon’s efforts to use AI to entice more third-party sellers using an image generation tool that allows brands to create lifestyle imagery that bolsters the effectiveness of their ads.

“As an example, consider an advertiser who may possess isolated product images, like a toaster, set against a plain white background,” the report said. “Yet, when this same toaster is incorporated into a lifestyle setting, such as positioned on a kitchen counter alongside a croissant, Amazon said click-through rates can surge as much as 40% when compared to ads featuring conventional product images.”