If you’ve been following popular stories about the Amazon eco-sphere this year, you’ve likely come across stories about sellers paying for reviews from customers. This has been a big thorn in Amazon’s side recently, and they’ve been taking steps to crack down on sellers paying for reviews however they can manage. But you may be asking, why is paying for reviews a bad thing?
When sellers pay for reviews from Amazon customers, they expect the reviews they’ve paid for to be five stars and paint their product in an appealing light. This kind of misuse of reviews hurts both sellers and buyers because the reviews being paid for are not genuine. Amazon customers have come to rely heavily on the reviews left by their fellow shoppers in order to help influence whether or not they buy a product. By skewing the reviews by paying for them, sellers are abusing this feature and misleading customers.
Even if a review if marked ‘Verified Purchase’ it still may not be a genuine review. Sellers have found ways to make the reviews they pay for look as genuine and legitimate as possible. However, there are ways to surmise whether the reviews for a product are real or fake. One of the easiest ways to figure this out is by analyzing the breakdown of reviews. Look at how many of each star rating a product has. For example, if a product has many reviews with 100% 5-star reviews, that is a red flag. When sellers pay for reviews, they ask the reviewer to give the product 5-stars to help boost the overall star rating. If sellers pay enough reviewers to leave 5-star reviews, they can distort the whole review structure of their product. You can also use FakeSpot to help you determine if a product’s reviews are real or fake.
Amazon specifically restricts sellers from paying for reviews, and also prohibits buyers from receiving special pricing for products in exchange for reviews. Customers who breach Amazon’s Community Guidelines are in danger of having their review history erased and losing the ability to leave reviews in the future.
But Amazon wants to reassure customers that less than 1% of reviews are inauthentic, and that they technology in place that helps them crack down on sellers paying for reviews. Amazon has even sued 1,000 sellers for paying for reviews. So, it may seem tempting as a seller to buy some reviews in order to help boost your products’ appeal. Don’t be tempted by paying for reviews; in the end the risk of having your account closed, or even being sued by Amazon, is not worth the reward. Luckily there are other ways to get more reviews that won’t land you in hot water with Amazon.
Check out our Strategies for Improving your Amazon Reviews here.