Amazon Continues Its Crackdown on Fraudulent Reviews

By suspending familiar Amazon brands, Amazon sends a crystal clear message: fake reviews will not be tolerated on its platform.

Since late April, Amazon has suspended many notable brands that have made their name on the platform due to fake reviews. The list of noteworthy brands includes Mpow and Aukey, two brands that have dominated the Electronics category for years. HOMTECH, Atmoko, Tacklife, and Vtin are a handful of other Chinese-based sellers suspended.

Many of the suspensions went into place in late April, and the sellers remain off the platform weeks later in the U.S. marketplace and internationally.

As Amazon continues its increased enforcement of guidelines, it underlines the importance of staying with terms of service.

RELATED: [How To Get Amazon Reviews: Automated Review Conversion from Viral Launch]

In Late April, reviews for one MPOW listing declined from over 18,000 to just over 9,000. (Via Market Intelligence)

By all means, Amazon sellers should take notice. Amazon has markedly worked towards removing fraudulent reviews from time to time. Perhaps most notably, Amazon removed more than one million reviews in May of 2018. It’s not uncommon to see massive waves of reviews removed periodically.

However, the suspensions of such major Amazon mainstays at once is new territory.

While Mpow’s storefront is still viewable, many products are unavailable to be purchased from the brand.

At the moment, the future of the brands is unknown. In all likelihood, the brands are seeking reinstatement by submitting a plan of action for correcting the matter. If this is a repeated issue, a ban could be in place.

For Amazon sellers, the incentive to generate plenty of favorable reviews is easy to provide trust to potential customers. As a result of shoppers seeing others have pleasant experiences, they’re more likely to complete a purchase.

In order to combat bad actors looking to game the system, Amazon created its Anti-Manipulation Policy for Customer Reviews.

While Amazon has automated much of the review generation process and taken many aspects of the process out of the control of sellers, Amazon sellers can take measures to maximize review count within terms of service.

For example, our Amazon Review Automation tool optimizes the review generation process by signaling Amazon to follow up with customers on your behalf. It’s TOS compliant, effortless to use, and up to 5 times more effective than traditional email follow-ups. Available as an add-on within the Market Intelligence Chrome Extension, it’s the best way to garner reviews without violating Amazon’s terms of service.

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How To Get Amazon Reviews: Automated Review Conversion From Viral Launch

Email Follow-Ups. Are. Dead. 

     As an Amazon seller you know first-hand how difficult getting product reviews can be; as well as how important they are to the success of your product. Reviews are the social proof that many shoppers ultimately base their purchasing decisions on. With feedback being so vital to a product’s performance, some sellers even resort to less-than-legitimate ways of generating reviews such crafty email follow-ups that contain manipulative messaging. Sellers may offer a free product in exchange for an “honest review” and some may even go so far as to buy product reviews through a third-party (these practices are against Amazon Terms of Service and could result in account suspension.) 

     Of course, not all sellers are violating ToS with email follow-ups that use these kinds of black-hat tactics. In the past, a legitimate email follow-up was arguably the best way to get real reviews from your customers. However, the rules around the type of language that is appropriate for email follow-ups changes frequently and staying on top of the current allowed verbiage is very difficult. Luckily, in Q4 of 2019, Amazon quietly released a feature within Seller Central that is disrupting this outdated method and offering much better results. Not to mention, this practice is 100% Amazon-sanctioned! 

Amazon’s ‘Request a Review’ button

    As some of you may have noticed, there is a new button located on your Order Details page within the Seller Central dashboard. You can find this by navigating to a completed order, clicking on “order details,” and then in the upper right-hand corner should be a button labeled “request a review.” This button will send an email, from Amazon, requesting feedback. See figure below. 

     Once this button is pressed, Amazon will prompt you with a few notifications as they send an email to the customer requesting a product review. The messaging is simple and straightforward allowing for quick feedback from the customer. The email customers receive allows them to simply leave a star rating (a 1-5 star rating with no written review) which greatly increases the likelihood of product feedback. 

     Reviews can only be requested on orders that are completed and can also only be requested once. This limits the amount of messages customers are receiving and prevents sellers from abusing this feature by spamming past buyers with emails. Shown below is an example of a product review email a customer might receive. 

VL’s programmatic solution to requesting reviews

     Since the “request a review” button is found within the orders details of each individual purchase, even medium-sized sellers would need to navigate hundreds of unique pages in order to request reviews for daily purchases. However, Viral Launch has automated this process with the release of Review Automation. As an add-on to the Market Intelligence chrome extension, VL subscribers will have the functionality of requesting reviews for all eligible orders with just a few clicks!

The first step is to grant permissions in order for the extension to function properly. From the “Manage Orders” page in Seller Central, click on the extension icon and follow the prompt to grant permissions. From there, you can begin requesting reviews in bulk for all of your eligible orders!

Click “request reviews” to have Amazon reach out to your customers on your behalf and request product feedback. Then just sit back and watch the reviews and ratings start flooding in!

     With this new capability offered by Viral Launch, sellers are able to request reviews from individual orders without navigating into the order details for each. To simplify things even further, sellers can request reviews from all eligible orders within a specified date range! The extension will then denote which orders have a pending review request as to make sure sellers aren’t attempting to send more than one email. 

What impact will Amazon’s ‘Request a Review’ button have on my business?

     There are several ways this new feature will impact sellers. Converting sales into reviews has never been easier so it’s something everyone should be taking advantage of to help better their product’s positioning in the eyes of potential customers. Our take on the impacts of this update are as follows:

  • Email follow-ups will quickly become old news…
    • Review rates from email follow-ups have always been very low and relatively ineffective compared to the early results of Amazon’s new ‘Request a Review’ button. 
  • New products will be able to build a solid review base much more quickly… 
    • With review rates being up to 5x higher than traditional email-follow ups, new products will gain traction in their markets and become legitimate competitors.
  • Review counts for high-volume products will skyrocket… 
    • While new products will find it easier to build an initial base of reviews, top sellers will see review numbers increasing at an exponential rate. 
  • Average product star ratings will begin to improve… 
    • Since feedback is often left when a shopper has a negative experience, the ease of leaving a 5-star review will balance out the average rating on less-than-stellar products. 

     A study done by Marketplace Pulse is reinforcing some of our theories around the impacts this new feature will have. Since September (when the ‘request a review’ button was added) the Amazon listing for Apple Airpods has increased its number of reviews from less than 3,000 at a 4.4 star rating to over 38,000 with a 4.6 star rating! Since peak Q4, this listing has been generating over 600 product ratings/day. Another interesting thing to note is that the majority of feedback left has been in the form of star ratings without a written review. The screenshot below comes from a Marketplace Pulse article analyzing the rate at which Apple Airpods have received reviews vs ratings. As illustrated, it’s easy to tell that shoppers are much more inclined to leave feedback on past purchases if the process is simplified down to just one click.

How can I get this awesome functionality?!?!

     For those of you with a current Market Intelligence subscription, you can access this new review tool now at no extra fee. So log into Seller Central today and start building reviews at 5x the rate of your outdated email follow-up!

     For anyone without an active Viral Launch subscription, don’t worry! For a limited time, we’re offering a subscription to Market Intelligence and Review Automation for only $10/month when you use coupon code REVIEWSPLEASE at checkout! This discounted offer will only be available through 3/7/2020 so click here to subscribe today!