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. (it could be prevented if Account owners would have talked with Amazon Attorney)
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
THEN… How 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.
Amazon’s new review policy crashed into Planet-Online-Retail, and now feedback facilitators are working round the clock to adjust business models. Let’s take 3 minutes to outline the situation — in plain language — and examine how the change will affect Amazon sellers and reviewers.
AMAZON’S NEW REVIEW POLICY POINTS
So, what was the big change? In short: Sellers can no longer offer free products and discounts in exchange for a review. Here is a handful of specific points:
- Sellers can’t use third-party services to loophole around the restriction.
- The policy took effect immediately, but vendors shouldn’t worry about past posts. However, Amazon may remove old reviews “if they are excessive, and don’t comply with prior policy.”
- Sellers CAN “continue to offer discounts and promotions as long as they are not offered in exchange for reviews.”
- Ignoring Amazon’s new review policy is grounds for account suspension.
- Review facilitators can no longer require members to leave reviews.
Before our 3-minutes are up, we wanted to leave you with 3 legally minded thoughts:
- “Unfair and deceptive marketing” rules do apply. Adhere to them or risk and FTC investigation and fine.
- In light of Amazon’s new review policy, feedback services should make a Herculean effort to contact their review-writers’ networks. Don’t forget, a review that includes something to the effect of “received at a discount for an honest and unbiased review,” is now non-compliant.
- Account suspension is reversible in some instances. The fastest way to get your suspension reversed is by working with an Amazon Attorneys.
NEED ADVICE FROM AN AMAZON ATTORNEY?
The Amazhelp team helps business owners overcome online review challenges, in addition to other Internet business issues, like account suspensions, blocked listings, counterfeiting, and intellectual property claims.