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Thu June 7 2018 23:22:12

Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep

By: Ina Steiner

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In April, we wrote about Amazon's mass suspension of buyers for what appeared to have been part of a crackdown on reviews; it's against Amazon policy to leave product reviews in exchange for compensation "such as gift cards to purchase the product, product refunds, review swaps, or free or discounted products."

That was in April. In late May, sellers reported that Amazon began deleting product reviews from ASINs en masse.

It's important to distinguish between reviews left for products versus feedback left for sellers, which also saw a change at the same time. (Amazon began limiting the number of feedback displayed on a seller's account to the past 12 months instead of the lifetime of the account.)

The removal of product reviews had an immediate, measurable impact on sales, according to sellers discussing the change. Some sellers defended their practices when a few expressed skepticism that their colleagues could have garnered so many reviews for their products without using questionable practices.

Online selling expert Lisa Suttora had some advice for what she called the "review removal sweep" that was "targeted at removing fake, purchased, and incentivized reviews" and warned that some legitimate reviews were also getting removed in the process.

What makes a product review problematic? When the seller violates Amazon's review manipulation policy, including providing incentives for reviews and "friend, family or acquaintance reviews."

According to Suttora, "if you've had product reviews removed, Amazon has likely made your product ineligible to receive future product reviews."

Suttora and some sellers pointed to private Facebook groups that pay for reviews. One seller wrote, "Hopefully Amazon is taking long overdue action and cleaning the site off of scam artists who use private Facebook review groups to get fake 5-star reviews in return for a PayPal refund of the purchase plus a bonus. If Amazon’s AI has started doing that, chances are that some honest sellers are also caught in cross fire, but the end result will be better for everyone."

The seller also said he'd heard of cases where sellers recruit people to purchase competitive products and leave them negative reviews in exchange for refunds and bonuses. That's not difficult to believe - selling on Amazon is cutthroat.

Readers may also remember the recent report that Amazon was cracking down on buyers who returned too many items. Amazon is obviously doing some serious spring cleaning, coming down on both sellers and buyers who violate its terms of service, with some users saying they're caught up in the sweeps in error.



Comments (5) | Permalink

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 8 12:02:24 2018

Not mentioned, at least I didn't notice, by Suttora or Ina is that mostly this action has been directed in an large extent against sellers with their own brands. Mostly items imported from China -- tons of basically the same item with different Brand Names, etc.

For example, in various kitchen related areas many of the items are basically identical.  It is understandable that sellers with these types of items have to find ways to distinguish their items from the masses. Buying reviews, in one way or the other, is the step many sellers chose.

Perminate Link for Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep   Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Jun 9 16:01:39 2018

I bought a nice T-Shirt from a guy on Amazon.
Now I'm hounded twice a week for a review.
I don't leave reviews.
Ever.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 9 17:37:52 2018

I seldom leave reviews except for individual sellers whom I've purchased something collectible -- not everyday new product. They are very important to individual sellers tho.  For my self fulfilled items I send one thank you and a review request. That's it. Nothing more.  

Perminate Link for Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep   Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Jun 11 00:57:37 2018

I like to see *a lot* of reviews before deeming them trustworthy.  

Perminate Link for Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep   Selling Expert Warns of Amazon Product Reviews Sweep

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 11 04:28:31 2018

I leave reviews in Ebay for sellers & buyers.  I also leave reviews in AMZ for purchases.  How else is someone to know how to rate a product?  Maybe AMZ needs to outsource the reviews & ratings to a 3rd party who can police it better.



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