Amazon sues sellers for Amazon fake reviews | June 2016
We at HonestFew will always keep you updated on what’s going on in the world of Amazon reviews since we’re becoming the Yelp of Amazon.
And in the news this week, Amazon has demonstrated its zero-tolerance policy on fake reviews by suing 3 Amazon sellers, as reported by TechCrunch. Now, Amazon has sued fake reviewers in the past, but this is the first time they’ve taken legal action against sellers.
What did these 3 sellers do to warrant this?
Well, Amazon claims that they made fake reviewer accounts and positively reviewed their own products, fabricating roughly 30–45% of their total review base.
If Amazon wins the case, the sellers will be banned from Amazon, return their profits, and pay Amazon’s legal fees plus $25,000 in damages.
What can we to learn from this?
There are 3 distinct things:
- If you have (even a slight) financial interest in it, don’t review it.
Don’t review your products or competing products. This seems like an obvious infraction, but that’s what this legal case is based on. It directly violates this clause from the Amazon Review Creation Guidelines:
“ We do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services.”
And moreover, you shouldn’t ask for people in your network to leave reviews either, as they’ll probably be biased too. This is from Amazon’s article “About Customer Reviews”:
“ If you have a direct or indirect financial interest in a product, or perceived to have a close personal relationship with its author or artist, we’ll likely remove your review.”
2. When in doubt, ask: ‘does this help Amazon customers?’
The north star is, and always will be, providing value for customers. Amazon says the goal of reviews is:
“[To] capture all the energy and enthusiasm (both favorable and critical) that customers have about a product. Customer Reviews help customers learn more about the product or genre, hear the reasons behind your star rating, and ultimately decide if this is the right product for them or not.”
It’s perfectly fine to sell products for review, but you need to create an environment, like HonestFew’s platform, that welcomes both positive and negative feedback. From Amazon Review Creation Guidelines:
“We do not permit reviews […] that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind. The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front […] you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback.”
We built HonestFew to simply facilitate this process.
We built a platform for you to sell your Amazon products to a community of reviewers, who will buy and honestly review it. I’m really proud of what we’ve built, and would like to recommend our service to you.
3. Expect algorithmic changes.
Amazon has 2.5 million third-party sellers shipping over 2 billion items annually. In 2015, Business Insider reported that third party sellers account for 83% of products sold on Amazon. At this scale, Amazon doesn’t have time to sue every seller using blackhat tactics. But at the same time, it’s crucial to preserve the integrity of Amazon’s marketplace.
I imagine that Amazon will tweak its algorithm around reviews (i.e. the set of programmed rules on Amazon that dictate how reviews show up, and how much weight each is given).
In the coming months…
> “Most Helpful” reviews (which often happen to be video or photo reviews; check out the top customer reviews on this makeup sponge) will continue to surface at the top of listings.
> A product’s ranking out of 5 stars will be weighted in favor of reviews that are insightful and real. For example, a review that comes from off-platform (i.e. Amazon can’t link the review to a customer purchase) that just says “Great product!” with 5-stars will influence the overall star rating less than a longer, insightful review from a product that was purchased on-platform
Historically, the 5-star rating was an average of all published reviews. I think that’s going to change for the better.
Taking all this into account, reviews are a main driver in getting more sales. And together, we just explored how to get them in light of Amazon’s (quite warranted) actions against blackhat tactics:
> If you have a financial interest in it, don’t review it
> When soliciting reviews, don’t offer compensation other than a free copy of the product; state that you’re open to both positive and negative feedback; and make sure reviewer disclaimers are written
> Adjust to the coming algorithmic changes with an emphasis on reviews that are helpful to Amazon shoppers
And hey, if you’re looking for a partner to navigate the marketplace with, we can help.
HonestFew is a platform that connects Amazon sellers with reviewers in an open way that benefits you, Amazon shoppers, and Amazon itself. So if you need reviews, reach out by phone or email.
We hope you enjoyed our article about Amazon suing sellers for Amazon fake reviews. I’ll see you in the next one.
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