Tag Archives: Reputation

Amazon’s Fake Review Problem is Worse Than Ever. Here’s Why.

Amazon’s efforts to clean up product reviews have sent the problem underground. Fake reviews are still around, but are harder to detect.

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com.

Amazon has had a fake review problem for a long time. Up until late 2016, Amazon allowed sellers to give away products in return for a review. Those reviews were “honest and unbiased”, at least according to the disclaimers that reviewers sometimes added.

Back then, many sellers used product giveaways to increase their positive reviews. Amazon’s algorithms acted on the review data, search visibility went up, and buyers bought those items more often. Everyone went away happy, right? Well, at least the sellers did.

Then Amazon prohibited all incentivized reviews, and the problem swiftly went underground. Incentives continued to be offered, but away from the official discount code system, so Amazon couldn’t see the activity at all.

Fast forward to today, and a whole black market ecosystem has evolved. It’s focused on manipulating the Amazon reviews and search ranking systems, using a vast range of nefarious techniques. Amazon’s ban, ironically, has resulted in a fake review problem that makes the old behavior look quaint by comparison.

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15 Ways to Get Reviews on Amazon: Do’s, Don’ts and Maybes

Here’s every way to get more product reviews, from approved programs run by Amazon to prohibited methods that could get you banned forever.

For private label sellers and brand owners, getting positive product reviews on Amazon is crucial. Not only does it give shoppers confidence in the quality of your products, it plays a part in many of Amazon’s algorithms including the ranking of search results and the Amazon’s Choice badge. Reviews are hugely important to the success of Amazon sellers.

But Amazon has fought back against practices which undermine trust in the review system. Its most notable actions include the banning of incentivized reviews, the introduction of Verified Purchase reviews, and drawing up extensive policies on everything sellers can and can’t do. Amazon are being tougher than ever on what’s allowed, and will take harsh action on rule-breakers.

Here are all the different ways you can get Amazon product reviews. Only a few are completely safe, but also rather limited or expensive to access. Others are completely prohibited, but are still being used by sellers who are dishonest, desperate or naive. And many are in a grey area – if you stay within Amazon’s rules you should be safe, but it’s very easy to step over the line.

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Multiple Amazon Accounts: What’s Happening and What You Should Do

Amazon is getting harder on sellers with multiple accounts. Here’s what you need to get approval and avoid being flagged for investigation.

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com. ecommerceChris shows Amazon sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

UPDATE February 2018: This second edition has been fully reviewed and revised.

Do you have anything to declare?

This is what travelers are asked whenever they pass through Customs at airports around the world. Amazon is asking you this too, if you have more than one account. Which one is it? What’s the email associated with it, so we can have a look and decide if you need it?

If you don’t declare items to customs and they find them later, you pay more, right?

The same principle applies here. Amazon are regularly sending messages to sellers who they suspect of having multiple accounts, but they’re doing more than looking for a confession. They’re sending a warning shot prior to taking more aggressive actions, if past policy matters are any guide.

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Can I Buy Amazon Reviews? Everyone Else Seems to Be Doing It!

Buying reviews is against Amazon’s rules. But are there ways around this? And is it worth the risk? Matthew Ferguson reveals all.

Have a question for us? Send it to questions@webretailer.com. Readers’ Questions are in partnership with Emanaged and Online Seller Consulting.

Question

I have my own private label beauty brand and have been selling products on Amazon for the past five years.

I monitor my competition closely and it seems that over the last month, they’ve been getting a lot of reviews, far more than I’m getting even though my product has higher sales. I think they must be buying reviews.

I thought that doing this was against Amazon’s Terms of Service, so how are my competitors getting away with doing it?

Personally, I’m worried about the risks of getting caught. I’ve heard about Amazon suspending sellers for buying reviews and I don’t want this to happen to me. But, I also don’t want my competitors to be using this against me.

Do you know if there was a way that I could do it too without getting caught? Or even a way that would be treated less harshly by Amazon if I do get caught? I don’t want to do this if the risk of being suspended is too high.

— Grace, CO, United States

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Incentivized Reviews, Listing Restrictions and Cozying up to Brands

Review manipulation never really went away, listing blocks can be hard or soft, and Amazon is getting to be BFFs with brands. Whatever next?

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com. ecommerceChris shows Amazon sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

The ban on incentivized reviews is over a year old, but the old adage on prohibition has held true: the practice hasn’t disappeared, it has just gone underground.

Amazon’s relationship with big brands has long been rocky, due to aggressive pricing and rampant fakes. But the times they are a changin’ as Amazon strikes a friendly deal with Nike. Who will be next?

HQ2 continues to make headlines, but while officials desperately bid for Amazon’s attention, are they leaving local small businesses out in the cold?

Meanwhile, “soft” listing blocks are common but not well understood. Do sellers ever need to do more than just edit and relist?

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