Paid Reviews Affecting Amazon Retailers

28th September 2016

A number of retailers on the popular Amazon shopping site have recently been threatened with court action for buying positive reviews from influencers.
Amazon’s seller’s policy states that: You may not intentionally manipulate your products’ rankings, including by offering an excessive number of free or discounted products, in exchange for a review. Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited. However, the relatively low likelihood of being discovered has made a number of companies take up the option.


How Does Buying Amazon Reviews Help?

A compensated review of a product (even one that has been declared) still has the ability to push your business higher up in the list of results. This is because the system will see your purchased “5-star” review in exactly the same way as a genuine review. This means that customers will see your artificially inflated review as part of the stars awarded to your review. Companies with more positive seller experiences tend to sell more goods than those without.


Why Do Paid-For Amazon Reviews Matter?

Effectively, companies with a better reputation, including reputations built with influencer marketing, will skip ahead of their competitors and sell more, regardless of the actual quality of products and services on offer.
More seriously, these better reviews can be used to mask atrocious customer service and product build quality that has been commented on by real customers.

This lack of customer service, or lower quality products can be a hassle to companies selling higher quality merchandise who require a higher cash margin on their products to remain profitable, something is hidden from view to the potential customers of the legitimate high quality retailer.


The Real Downside of Amazon Paid Reviews

As well as paying for illegitimate product reviews, there is another side of the issue. To build legitimacy for their dummy accounts, many of the companies providing this service, will buy items from their clients competitors and leave negative reviews of that company’s products.  This obviously has implications for retailers legitimately using Amazon to sell goods.


Is There A Legitimate Way to Get Amazon Reviews?

Amazon offers a service called vine, that allows businesses to send free products to informed customers. This service encourages neutral honest reviews, rather than the PR driven reviews that have become a problem.

This service allows the company to build up interesting and informed reviews. A great idea if you have good products and great customer service. Vendors have no contact with the Vine Voices, and have no influence over which Vine Voices will review their products.