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Is Amazon Punishing Sellers Victimized by Fake Review Sites?

Is Amazon Punishing Sellers Victimized by Fake Review Sites?

Some sellers are feeling the fallout from lawsuits Amazon filed last month against two websites it claimed were attempting to profit from generating “misleading and fraudulent reviews.”

Amazon began removing some listings for sellers’ products featured on one of those sites, Rebatest, but sellers say they weren’t even familiar with the website and did not participate in any incentives-for-review programs.

ASGTG (Amazon Sellers Group) issued an alert on Twitter on Tuesday linking to more information on the ASGTG Facebook group:

“Breaking…. RED… We can confirm that legit sellers’ listings are being framed on rebate sites that Amazon is suing where competitors will list your item and you will get it taken down for review manipulation.”

Some sellers believed their rivals had submitted their products on Rebatest in an effort to get them suspended from Amazon.

Others believed Rebatest itself was running a scam, though it wasn’t exactly clear how such a scam might work.

In its February 22nd press release, Amazon wrote, “The lawsuits aim to shut down two major fake review brokers, AppSally and Rebatest, who helped mislead shoppers by having their members try to post fake reviews in stores such as Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Etsy.”

Amazon also said it uses a “combination of machine learning technology and skilled investigators to detect, prevent, and remove” incentivized or fake reviews. Amazon sellers who had products removed and discovered they had been featured on Rebatest without their permission say they’re collateral damage in Amazon’s bot war.

The founder of ASGTG himself is facing criminal charges in a different matter as we’ve reported but continues to have a vibrant base of supporters who in this case, shared their experiences and strategized on how to deal with it.

On its website, Rebatest encourages shoppers to purchase Amazon items through its cashback program:

“Rebatest is a product trial website where you can get up to 100% rebates when shopping online! Rebatest’s fundamental aim is to help people find good stuff and test the potential development of new products, while offering fair and comprehensive trial report for customers. We’re the cashback site that gives up to 100% moneyback rebates and we don’t charge our members any fees either; Rebatest is free to join, free to use and free to cash-out. We’re also the only few one of cashback site that doesn’t have a minimum pay-out threshold, and you can cash-out as many times a year as you want.”

It also offers an affiliate program where shoppers who refer its site to others could earn rewards:

“In order to expand our business and attract more testers, the Affiliate&Refer program is launched You can earn referral bonus up to $20/person by referring friends and associates to join and complete the first order at Rebatest.”

Ironically, members of the Rebatest program left their own reviews of Rebatest on TrustPilot, which tell an interesting tale.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “Is Amazon Punishing Sellers Victimized by Fake Review Sites?”

  1. Hi Ina. Thanks for the mention.

    You had included that the founder “continues to have a vibrant base of supporters” despite some accusations so I would like to explain why I was not canceled (in an era where you get canceled for wearing a Trump T-shirt). It is now 20 months since the accusation and in an industry built on scale, not one person of a 100K+ following (seller, service provider, or consultant) has corroborated even .000000001% of what was stated as even possible which is quite interesting in an industry of public hack a thons, open BH clubs offering spreadsheets of insider services including FUNDS release, ASIN remapping, Sabotage, Feedback removal, ALL SOP’s, Tens of thousands of review groups, Invoice creation companies and much worse all publicly shredding and mocking the concept of following TOS.

    The stated goal of ASGTG since 2015 is to cure the above and to network White Hat (Sellers) in a smart and efficient way so there is no need for an otherwise legit seller to justify (incorrectly) the use of Black Hat tactics & and for there to be a real counterweight to the mostly black hat international groups that put legit rule-following sellers at a disadvantage. Once the system has run its course and there is still no WH solution, which happens quite often, we ethically escalate the issue to Amazon so they can resolve it. This idea has clearly won the hearts & minds of the seller’s community for obvious reasons.

    Since that time ASGTG has accomplished the following (incomplete list ) & I am unaware of any seller since 2015 that knows the ASGTG that will not name it as the #1 most positive reform force in the seller’s community.

    (please note all these resources are free and open to anyone to use with zero upsell)

    I have escalated to Amazon proper over 1200 “one-off” ticking bomb suspended cases that were reinstated which prevents legit sellers from entertaining BH tactics which ASGTG believes to be the real solution to stopping BH – a realistic & viable WH pathway. All these escalations were done with extreme integrity and for altruistic reasons (which is very different than charging the going rate for when my team is hired for POA work) that helps legit Sellers & Amazon. Most of these escalations never gave me 1$.

    ASGTG is likely the #1 most impactful group/entity in third-party sellers history known throughout the world. I do not know even know who is second.

    The FB group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmazonSellerPerformance/) is the go-to place worldwide for rule-following sellers and has nearly doubled since the accusations (37k-65k) which may make this the greatest conspiracy in world history.

    We have the #1 weekly email since 2015 on Amazon compliance with a strong PRO TOS, PRO Amazon tilt almost to a fault. Every bullet point stresses compliance as I am sure you are aware since I know you read these emails. The weekly email/blog post touches the entire seller’s community.

    I have produced over 100 videos stressing following and adhering to Amazon compliance.

    ASGTG has over 83 highly moderated Telegram groups (all with a PRO Amazon , PRO TOS tilt) that has literally changed e-commerce as every single solvable issue gets resolved. (At the same time there are 1000s of BH groups PUBLICLY shredding Amazon which makes the accusations all the more interesting). The group chat history is PUBLIC in both FB & TG so you are welcome to verify this and can assure not one hint of condoning BH tactics. Clearly I would have no incentive to endorse BH

    ASGTG has one of the top 3 annual events all stressing compliance and even had Amazon, eBay, & Walmart in an official capacity attending multiple times with glowing endorsements.

    A vetted Service Provider Network with reviews all for no fee to anyone (https://www.asgtg.com/amazon-services/).

    My Private POA team, which is unrelated to the group, has worked on 10K+ projects and has only grown since these accusations. Our biggest complaint is we are too straight and would never take a case in which we think the seller is involved in nefarious activity.

    Home of the top 3 most successful petitions on Amazon Selling, some of which you covered including the famous #shutTheAsinNotTheSeller

    Home of search@asgtg.com which is a free service for resellers to find the history of how aggressive a brand will protect their IP. This is game-changing for resellers and prevents lawsuits, waisted resources, fighting between brands & sellers.

    ASGTG has an escrow service that is the most trusted throughout the world (that started after the accusations) when selling goods or business which makes the idea of us being “corrupt” pretty unlikely.

    ASGTG escrow & ED Rosenberg has been impersonated 100s of times in an attempt of real fraudsters trying to profit off the trusted brand which makes the accusations even more interesting.

    You can read more here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazon-acknowledging-third-party-seller-pain-points-dawn-ed-rosenberg/

    and there is much more.

    In summary, you would literally have to believe that 20 months AFTER I was outed as a secret Black Hat (BH) service provider, I was able to keep 100K followers in line (not very likely), decided to commit random crimes with no motive & against my own self-interest, I am able to be both the leader of BH & WH Amazon at the same time & even after I was outed as a BH provider was somehow able to continue in the same role doubling my following, all with exactly zero people corroborating all of this in an industry built on scale.

    All this seems very unlikely to the average seller which explains why the ASGTG continues to flourish. The seller community prefers to assume that my 7 years of Pro TOS, PRO Amazon ASGTG work, the 1200 escalations, the 10K projects with my 10-15 person POA team, the WH pathway idea, The go to address worldwide for rule-following sellers, the 83+ PRO-TOS TG groups, #1 PRO-TOS weekly email, the multiple successful petitions, the Pro Amazon Videos, the ASGTG alerts including the one mentioned in this article, the most trusted escrow service, PRO TOS events is real and it’s the few bizarre incidents that are missing context but you are welcome to believe what you want.

    You or nobody in the entire world will be disappointed once the details, context, and explanations emerge.


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