There’s a HUGE problem with Fake Reviews & Manipulated Product Ranking on Amazon
I’m selling in the clothing niche and literally 80% of the sellers in the ranked in the top 20 for any clothing category are “buying” positive reviews in exchange for a free item.
They’re having customers who want free items to purchase their product at full price with the seller’s link which is usually a two-step search link using a key word such as “running shorts” and those full price purchases will help with the sales velocity and ranking for that listing under the “running shorts” keyword.
Once the customer receives the item and writes a positive review after 7 days, the seller sends the customer via PayPal the full amount the customer paid for. The cost of this strategy is likely small compared to the long term benefit of having thousands of reviews and “organic” ranking on the search page for the most competitive general keywords in the clothing niche.
How do I know this is going on?
-There are sellers who are 3-6 months old with several listings with over 2000-3500 reviews already. I’ve done extensive research on each top seller in my category. No social media, digital ads outside of PPC, website, or influencer collaborations. They have horrendous listings and copyrighted photoshopped images.
-I found them across various Free for Review exchange websites. Their brand name is explicitly listed with their item on these review websites.
-There are sellers who are several years old ranking #1-5 in the category and they are actively listing new and existing items in the Free for Review exchange websites.
-I found them in various Facebook review exchange groups promoting their item with this strategy.
-Once you join those review groups, their agents and team members will spam you like vultures offering you a free item for a full refund + positive review.
-There are agent services & chat groups on WeChat who will source U.S reviewers for you and do the full price purchase + positive review for a refund.
-What pisses me off even more is that these large digital magazine publications like Popsugar or US Weekly would feature these products in their daily articles JUST BECAUSE THE PRODUCT HAS THOUSANDS OF REVIEWS and help boost these seller’s sales even more.
Amazon claims they have algorithms and a specialist team investigating and taking down these sellers. I call MAJOR BS. The top seller for the past year in multiple clothing categories is literally on every paid review exchange website with their item explicitly listed. Granted, most of these sellers are overseas sellers who have a much easier time dealing with banned seller accounts since it’s extremely easy for them to quickly open a new account the following month.
As a local US Amazon seller, this type of fake reviews from nearly every top ranked seller in the clothing niche is RIDICULOUS and I can’t believe Amazon is letting these shady sellers get away with this type of manipulation. It’s present in nearly every category on Amazon. It severely hurts sellers like us who are doing it legit and if we try to launch a new product. And yes I’ve reported the sellers to Amazon with this evidence but of course, no reply or action has been taken for 2 years now. It’s pathetic. From a consumer standpoint, I am never ordering anything off Amazon again. Fake reviews and manipulated listings are everywhere. Anyone else see this going on in their category too?