Millions of people around the globe scour the Amazon marketplace in search of the perfect product to help solve everyday problems. They know what they’re looking for, and they’re ready to buy. We, as Amazon sellers, also search the marketplace looking for new product ideas or to find products to solve our everyday problems. When we come across products with thousands of product reviews, we immediately think something is fishy. The likelihood of every seller in that category having that number of reviews in very little time indicates review manipulation.
The truth is fake reviews have made competition on Amazon extremely challenging over the last few years. Honest sellers can feel like making it on Amazon is next to impossible when faced with accounts that partake in review manipulation.
Think about how customers feel, though. They come to Amazon because they trust the site but soon start questioning if the products they scroll through are from legit brands, or worse off, they start wondering if any of these reviews are actually real.
A few years ago, selling on Amazon was easier. With tweaks like ranking manipulation and asking buyers to place deceitful product reviews on detail pages, sellers could juice up their product ranking on Amazon. But today, these black hat tricks will not only get your Amazon account suspended or removed, but they can also land you in legal trouble.
While some sellers intentionally pull these tricks to have their products rank high in Amazon search results to make more sales, other sellers aren’t sure what the e-commerce platform allows.
Ignorance is no excuse. In this article, you’ll learn about Amazon product review manipulation and how to protect yourself from the adverse effects of this illegal practice to avoid having your Amazon account suspended.
What is an Amazon product review, and why are product reviews important?
Amazon has a product review policy to help buyers make informed decisions and help sellers manage their account reputation. The average Amazon shopper searches through product reviews and feedback before buying. How good or bad the reviews are, determines whether they’ll purchase since most shoppers believe they can trust Amazon and the reviews on the platform.
Apart from protecting the buyer and helping them make better decisions when shopping on Amazon, product reviews can serve as a feedback model for sellers. Reviews help you improve your products and offer, bolster ranking, mitigate the risk of a bad reputation, and help you maintain terms of service for Amazon abuse prevention.
As a seller on Amazon, you want to pay keen attention to product reviews because they directly impact your sales and brand reputation.
What is Amazon product review manipulation?
Amazon product reviews are vital to the e-commerce platform. Reviews help buyers get the best possible products and keep sellers on their toes to ensure they offer nothing short of the best products. To ensure every transaction is satisfactory on each side, Amazon has an anti-manipulation policy.
The policy helps sellers understand review manipulation to steer clear of this deceitful practice to maintain a healthy account and a trusted reputation.
It is okay to ask a buyer to leave a product review after making a purchase, but how you go about it can be the difference between compliance with Amazon’s terms of service. Telling a buyer what to write or encouraging them to leave positive feedback with giveaways is the wrong way to navigate Amazon product reviews and can land you in hot water with an account suspension.
Amazon product review manipulation involves influencing a buyer’s review through bribing, blackmailing, tricking, or pressuring people like your friends and family into leaving positive reviews. Purchasing reviews from review brokers and tweaking or altering existing reviews to bump up your rating is dishonest, and Amazon considers it as manipulation.
Why does Amazon take review manipulation seriously?
Amazon has zero-tolerance for product review manipulation because fake reviews are dishonest and can lead shoppers to purchase defective products, resulting in numerous complaints putting Amazon’s credibility on the line.
Amazon is legally regulated by e-commerce laws that compel the company to protect its customers by ensuring it cracks down on fake product reviews. Amazon can be taken to court or reported to regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for sanctioning.
Knowing this is the risk, the online retail giant has been forced to take a heavy stance with product review manipulation to protect its reputation and customers to avoid legal recourse.
What lengths will Amazon leverage to discover review manipulation?
To improve the customer experience and clamp down on fake reviews and products, Amazon has a strict verification process that all sellers must endure during onboarding. Amazon has a team of trained professionals on the lookout for fake reviews on the platform. These individuals ensure all sellers are compliant with the company’s terms of service and flag accounts with suspicious reviews.
Amazon also deploys robust technology tools and algorithms like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to perform spam tests and clamp down on fake reviews that a human team might miss. Amazon also mines data and can detect if reviews are from friends, family, employees, etc.
Review manipulation is serious business and not something Amazon takes lightly.
Why should you avoid review manipulation brokers? What can happen if you participate in review manipulation?
Some Amazon sellers pay review manipulation brokers to connect them with hundreds or thousands of fake customers (depending on the amount the seller pays) to leave positive reviews on the seller’s products.
Subsequently, these fake consumers get free products or money for their contributions. While some sellers may get away with leveraging review brokers, it’s best to steer clear of this practice because Amazon keeps improving its efforts to fish out fake reviews. Even if you found your way with review manipulation now, you’ll eventually be caught.
If Amazon finds you guilty of product review manipulation, they reserve the right to take stern action. The penalties range from seller account suspension to account termination. They can also be as drastic as you losing your payments and remittances or Amazon suing you and other parties involved in the review manipulation (including the brokers and fake consumers) in court.
Getting positive reviews and building your Amazon seller portfolio can be somewhat challenging, especially if you’re a new seller trying to break from the intense competition in the marketplace.
Amazon has a zero-tolerance policy for manipulated reviews and leverages a robust fake review detection system to weed out sellers engaging in this risky practice to maintain a fair platform. Steer clear of these practices and ensure you comply with Amazon’s terms of service.
You can build a genuine brand reputation and maintain a healthy seller account by getting reviews the right way. By doing so, you’ll build trust between you and your customers, avoid legal and non-legal issues from Amazon, and ultimately make more sales to build a trusted brand recognized on and off of Amazon.
If it’s too late and you’ve landed your account in hot water due to review manipulation, it’s best to contact a reputable and trusted Amazon abuse prevention company. Here at Riverbend Consulting, we work on your behalf to navigate an Amazon account suspended violation. Leave suspension arbitration to trusted professionals and follow their advice to ensure compliance and account safety.
What do you consider the best ways to get positive reviews on Amazon? Share your suggestions in the comment section below.
Need help with an Amazon account suspension? Contact us today for more information and a quote.
Kelly Johnston is the glue that holds Riverbend Consulting together and was with the company at its founding. She survived 10 years in the digital salt mines of Amazon Seller Performance. Before that, Kelly held other e-commerce roles where she worked in content, sales, and operations. When not helping clients, Kelly is a talented artist. Collage and up-cycled assemblages are her current passions.