Amazon Acts Tough Against Biased, Paid Reviews; Bans All Incentivized Reviews Except Vine Program
Human being is a social animal; and testimonials and reviews form an integral part of decision making process of them. It’s not only offline, but online commerce as well where reviews form an important factor in making the decision to buy a product.
In 2014 study, Search Engine Land found out that 88% of consumers trust online reviews on par with personal recommendations when judging a local business, and this fact speaks volume about the importance of reviews online.
Understanding the psychological and strategical importance of reviews, Amazon, world’s #1 ecommerce portal, has decided to ban all types of incentivized reviews on its platform. It is a big decision, because this means that from now, product sellers cannot offer any incentive or money to the reviewers.
Amazon Vine is a program wherein Amazon themselves (not product sellers/merchants) invite reviewers with reputation to review some of their products. It is a clearly documented fact that Amazon Vine reviews are done only for those products which are new and have less organic reviews; and Amazon doesn’t provide any incentives or monetary benefits for Vine reviews.
Amazon clarified: “Vine has important controls in place and has proven to be especially valuable for getting early reviews on new products that have not yet been able to generate enough sales to have significant numbers of organic reviews..”
Amazon’s Crusade Against Fake Reviews Continues
Before placing a blanket ban on paid, and/or fake reviews, Amazon had taken a number of steps to stop this practice.
For instance, in April this year, Amazon initiated a lawsuit against some businesses which openly offered fake reviews in exchange of money. Amazon had sued against Amazonverifiedreviews.com; Paidbookreviews.org; Amazonreviewstar.com; Buyamazonreviews.info and reviewconnections.com for selling reviews of Amazon products.
In June this year, Amazon sued sellers who used such corrupt services to buy reviews for their products. In fact, since 2015, Amazon has sued against 1000 people, who posted fake reviews for monetary benefits.
In October last year, Amazon had sued some sellers from Fiverr.com, who claimed to offer fake 5-star reviews.
An Amazon spokesperson had said: “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..”
Amazon has also employed algorithms which claims to detect fake reviews and ban that particular seller.
As of now, more than 100 million reviews have been posted on Amazon’s portal, and it is indeed a hard task to identify and stop fake reviews. But by taking a hard stand against this practice, Amazon has indeed sent a strong message to such corrupt sellers who are wrongly influencing buying decision, and take undue advantage of human psychology.