Amazon robots

“Amazon is best described as a hunger games workplace.”

Biting the hand that delivers you

FedEx says its break up is partly due to the inability to turn a profit citing nightmare contacts with Amazon. And the company is increasingly becoming a competitor to FedEx by renting its own planes, trains and automobiles etc.

And don’t ask Donald Trump. He says Amazon is scamming the Post Office.

“Next up is the U.S. Post Office which Amazon use, at a fraction of real cost, as their ‘delivery boy’ for a BIG percentage of their packages.”

Good old Australia Post (allegedly sick of Amazon standover tactics and threats to build its own parcel delivery network) has started competing with Amazon’s fulfilment business, launching Fulfilio, an Amazon-style warehouse, packing and shipping service for online companies in a partnership with eBay’s 40,000 Australian sellers to manage their order fulfilment.

Amazon must learn to play well with others. It is making some powerful enemies along the way

Amazon reviews – fake is the new black

In February 2019 GadgetGuy reported on fake reviews. For some well-known brands (with budgets), fake reviews identified by Fakespot were over 90%.

Another fake review spotter ReviewMeta found ‘millions of fake reviews already in 2019’. Of 5.8 million Amazon reviews analysed in Q1, 2019

  • 58% (3.55m) were not from verified purchasers
  • 99.6% of these gave a 5-star review.
Review Meta
ReviewMeta’s Amazon review analysis

Review Meta says the reviews are ‘factory-created’ and over a few days flood Amazon with sufficient variety that it cannot verify the legitimacy of the content. These reviews, in turn, drive its Choice badges and sales. Compared to 2018, the fake reviews have exploded, so it must reflect a policy change at the company that encourages this (or adds a loophole).

ReviewMeta says,

“The fact is that we’ve seen millions of blatantly fake reviews making it through the cracks over the last few months.  Everyone is wondering why it’s so easy for ReviewMeta to detect them in minutes but sometimes taking Amazon months, if ever, to clean them up.”

“Amazon seems willing to accept fake reviews to drive sales – any sales. When manipulation (fake reviews) is successful, it’s Amazon’s customers who are the victims.”

Amazon launched a new ‘Onsite Associates’ program in 2018 that encourages ‘selected’ reviewers to link to products.

Amazon includes them among the results users get when they search Amazon for the ‘best’ of a particular item. But it only shows users one guide per search, and if a user adds one of a guide’s listed items to their cart, the publisher gets an affiliate commission. Where is the objectivity in that?

Two US Senators have written to Amazon stating, “Amazon can and should do more to protect consumers from these deceptive practices, and we would like to understand better what measures your company is taking to address this issue.”

The FTC also took on and won against a marketer’s use of fake paid reviews. In settling the agency’s complaint, Cure Encapsulations resolved allegations that they made false and unsubstantiated claims for their Garcinia Cambogia weight-loss supplement and that they paid a third-party website to write and post fake reviews on Amazon.com.

Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said,

“People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online. When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”

GadgetGuy has identified this ‘fake review phenomena’.

First, you wonder if reviewers have actually used the product or just cut and paste from the product’s website. Note that some large companies have extensive guides and content tucked away in secret pages to ensure fake reviews stay on-message and are subtly different.

Amazon

Before we started using Disqus in late 2018 to moderate reader comments we had over 6,000 fake comments (reviews) lodged in a few months – thankfully none made it to our articles. Even with Disqus, we receive hundreds of fake comments (reviews/links) that go straight to the trash!

Unfortunately, fake reviews are spreading to local Australian bloggers, influencers and other so-called trusted websites

Faceless Philippines (and lately Chinese) fake review factories churn out reviews by the thousands and flood any review site.

One factory reportedly has over 60,000 writers earning a few cents to a few dollars per review. The scam is simple. Fake reviewers receive a secret code to buy the article for say $1 on Amazon (to gain a verified review status) and then post reviews and sell the product, ironically on eBay.

Some companies and agencies pay even more for posting fake negative reviews on competitor’s products.

They still don’t have a handle on how to prevent fake reviews. With so much fake news and reviews, chose your sources carefully

Amazon’s response – don’t blame us

Its terms of service for sellers expressly prohibit “any attempt to manipulate sales rank.” This includes accepting fake orders, placing orders on your own products, and paying buyers to purchase products. It also prohibits sellers from creating multiple seller accounts, writing reviews on their own products, and simulating customer traffic to a product.