Amazon is facing a constant battle to deal with fake reviews on the marketplace. In an amazing piece of investigative journalism, the UK’s consumer champion, Which? – a not-for-profit organization based that is 100% independent and focuses on revealing online (and offline) scams – has released it’s finding.
The Size of the Problem
Which? easily found 10 sites that offer Amazon reviews for money. These companies have over 1 million(!!!) people offering reviews. Reviews can cost as low as $7 (£5). Sellers can sign up for the services and choose from a range of packages and services.
Which? signed up with several of these sites and posed as sellers. They also discovered Rebate sites (get a product for free if you write a review) offer similar services.
For Buyers: Spotting Fake Reviews
Check the Location – Amazon now posts on reviews where the buyer who left the review was from.
Beware Unknown Brands with lots of positive reviews
Check the Language – watch for weird spellings and punctuation.
Check the content – sometimes listings are hijacked so see if the reviews actually mention anything about the product
Watch for lots of images – fake review sites (ironically) often request that reviewers post an image. But real reviewers rarely do this. Watch out for listings with an unusually high number of images in the reviews.
What You As A Seller Should Know
Obviously, buying reviews or doing anything to stimulate positive reviews in exchange for something is against Amazon’s Terms of Service. If discovered your account will be closed.
Things not to do:
The 7 most common transgressions
- Using your account or that of a competitor or customer to post, edit, or retract a review.
- Offering compensation of any kind to facilitate reviews.
- Requesting a positive review, rather than any kind of review, either directly or through packaging and box inserts.
- Engaging with fake reviewers, even if the need for a review is never mentioned but rather implied (closed social media groups, review websites and clubs, etc.).
- Contacting a negative reviewer to offer compensation, even if there’s no mention of retracting the review in return.
- Asking buyers to contact you before posting a negative review, but encouraging positive reviews to be posted.
- Creating product variations to accumulate reviews from existing products.
Amazon is fighting a battle over fake reviews and here are some of the things that can happen to you as a seller if you are caught doing it.
- Suspension – your account will be frozen and if you have inventory in FBA that will be destroyed
- Legal Action – Amazon has taken legal action against sellers based in the EU and the US caught review tampering
- FTC legal action – in serious cases the US Federal Trade Commission also takes separate legal action against the seller.
- Buyer Legal Action – several cases of Consumer action have been brought before the courts
Getting Legitimate Reviews
There are legitimate ways to get reviews of course. The best way is to use the Request Review Feature.
Using Zonmaster you can automate Amazon’s own ‘Request Review’ feature. This will automatically ask your buyers to leave a review at the right time.