Amazon’s test model went through many upgrades and bolt-ons. It used to be easy for sellers to buy reviews and entice customers to leave 5-star feedback. No more.
Amazon recently removed hundreds of China-based sellers who tampered with customer reviews despite having annual sales of $ 1 billion or more, according to Marketplace Pulse. Some of the removed products have been recognized as bestsellers in their category. In 2020, Amazon stopped over 200 million suspected fake comments from being published.
Even so, the overwhelming percentage of reviews are legitimate. In addition, Amazon continues to use practices that make fraudulent product reviews a thing of the past.
Prevent fraudulent reviews
Closure of the early reviewer program. Amazon discontinued its popular “Early Reviewer Program” in March without warning. The program, which was only open to new products with fewer than five reviews, allowed customers to leave a review in exchange for an Amazon gift card.
Policy updates on product inserts. Recent policy updates have prevented sellers from requesting a positive review of package inserts. And offering a free product or discount has been outside of Amazon’s guidelines for over five years.
Monitoring messages with customers. With artificial intelligence, Amazon can create policy violations for sellers who ask for reviews and provide incentives, even for customers the seller knows. I saw this happen to a seller. Amazon’s alert affects a seller’s “Account Health” which slows a product’s performance. Several warnings would presumably lead to the account being blocked.
Analyze reviews. I have experienced that a product review was never published, even though the customer was known to the seller. Presumably, Amazon’s rating system selected the person who submitted the rating because they shared a surname with the beneficiary in the seller’s account. Similar reviews had gone through.
Just a review email. Another important tactic used by the seller for product feedback was to repeatedly contact customers who did not leave a review. This was also stopped by Amazon. Sellers can only send a single email to Amazon’s customers through a third-party provider.
A seller’s only source of soliciting reviews is the Vine program, a selection of Amazon customers known for leaving detailed product reviews as critical as they are breathtaking. A Vine participant “must be a professional reseller, have a trademark registered in the Amazon trademark registry, be identified as a trademark owner, and have eligible FBA offers.”
Vine subscriber reviews often include pictures and detailed descriptions of the product’s uses and features. Amazon announces that the review comes from a “Vine Voice” customer.
Vine aside, reviews are usually developed organically from the sale of a product. It is crucial that the rating quality is not as strong as the conversion rate so that a product ranks on Amazon. I’ve overtaken big competitors who have a lot more reviews by making a product desirable and delivering a better customer experience.
What to fix
Amazon’s rating system is not broken. The company has tightened its valuation model in recent years, which makes manipulation much more difficult for sellers. Even when initially successful, sellers who manipulate reviews may not feel safe. Amazon could later detect it, resulting in a suspended product or account.