Amazon Does Not Suffer
Fools Fake Reviews
Amazon sues over fake reviews, and actively engages courts to enforce its “zero tolerance” stance. Recently, the company filed yet another lawsuit against several phony feedback facilitators.
Amazon Sues Over Fake Reviews
In the past year alone, the online retailer has already sued hundreds of businesses and individuals who create and deploy fake reviews. (You can read about other instances here, here, and here.)
Why Does Amazon Hate Fake Reviews?
Amazon — (and the Federal Trade Commission, for that matter) — views fake reviews as an act of unfair competition. Or, in legalese, buying fake reviews violates Section 5 of the FTC Act because the practice qualifies as an intentional attempt to mislead consumers.
Amazon explained its position to TechCrunch “Our goal is to eliminate the incentives for sellers to engage in review abuse and shut down this ecosystem around fraudulent reviews in exchange for compensation. As long as this type of abuse exists, we will continue to take enforcement and legal action against sellers participating in fraudulent reviews.”
Discount-For-Review Programs Are Also Against Amazon Policy
The news comes in the wake of Amazon’s announcement to purge the site of incentivized reviews (exception: books).
What does this mean for e-commerce entrepreneurs? In all probability, traditional advertising will make a triumphant comeback.
Is Amazon Hamstringing Startups?
In addition to investor cynicism, Amazon’s recent crackdowns have sparked a concern flame in the e-commerce industry. Is Amazon, in a way, raising the barrier of entry way too high, by ultimately forcing startups to outlay a larger initial marketing spend?
Fake Reviews v. Discount-For-Reviews: Both Are Now No-Nos on Amazon
What is the difference between fake reviews and discount-for-review programs? The former conspicuously violates Federal marketing regulations; the latter is (perhaps, it’s now more accurate to say, “was”) an enormously helpful startup marketing tool — which also spawned an entire promotional services niche, feedback facilitation.
Or, to put it simply: discount-for-review programs helped grow the online business economy.
Difficult But Necessary?
On account of Amazon’s no-holds-barred approach to exterminating solicited reviews, a big e-commerce question now looms: Do Amazon’s actions fall into the “difficult-but-necessary” category? Did company quants crunch numbers and discover that its third-party selling programs were ballooning at a breakneck — and unsustainable — speed, flooding the platform with potentially problematic digital detritus?
Because here’s the thing: Amazon is currently the top-dog, and as such, greatly exposed. It must be careful. Other online retailers are patiently crouching in the tall weeds, waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce — and that opportunity could be Amazon’s deteriorating respectability. After all, if the platform becomes synonymous with counterfeit goods and phony reviews, the public will start to look elsewhere.
Adjust To Survive
Now, does all this news spell doom and gloom for FBA sellers? No. Surviving amounts to adjusting. Brands and marketers should consider:
- Launching products at a low price, along with a well-executed customer satisfaction email campaign, which encourages consumers to leave reviews.
- Readjusting budgets to include other types of “Off Amazon” marketing efforts.
- Adding an unexpected packaging surprise. Why? Because people are more likely to leave a review if they’re delighted by an unanticipated treat. This tactic also has the added advantage of acting as a counterfeit deterrent.
Need Advice From An Amazon E-Commerce Attorney?
Our firm helps business owners overcome online review challenges, in addition to other Internet business issues, like account suspensions, counterfeiting, and intellectual property troubles.
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