Thousands of American consumers shop on Amazon daily. Nearly 25 years later, the once small garage-based online seller transformed into a $150 billion empire. From books to just about anything you could possibly think of, it is accessible through the online marketplace.
Amazon is not only a reliable marketplace for just about everything under the sun but also a reference resource. When consumers need information about specific products, they head to Amazon.
On one product alone, there could be up to 45,000 or more reviews.
Amazon utilizes the traditional 5-star product rating system, based on verified purchases. Customers have the option of submitting written and/or visual content along with their ratings. This is why many consumers utilize Amazon reviews as a viable resource for their research.
Amazon Vine Reviews
Most of Amazon’s long-time customers are familiar with its Vine Program. In exchange for reviews, participating customers are provided with free products. Customers participating in the Vine Program rate products on their experience.
If you are familiar with Vine reviews, you know they almost lean toward positive. It is unclear whether participants felt pressured by Amazon and/or participating manufacturers to leave only positive reviews. The idea of the program was to provide honest-to-goodness reviews, whether they were positive or negative.
In 2018, Amazon took a vow to eliminate fake product reviews on its online marketplace. The first step to ban hundreds of customer accounts believed to have broken the community rules.
Having a high volume of positive reviews is invaluable to third-party sellers. It can help improve the seller’s product rankings as well as their conversion rates. So, it is easy to see why sellers would take the risks to buy positive customer reviews.
Today, you rarely if ever find a Vine review on the marketplace. It is difficult to determine exactly how the Amazon 5-star rating system works. One thing is for sure, the system oftentimes combines a specific brand with multiple but similar models into a single review. You will see this rating shared across the entire product line. This can be challenging for consumers who need the ratings and reviews for one of these specific models.
The overall rating is based on various factors, including verified purchases, helpfulness, Amazon’s algorithms, and legitimacy. It doesn’t look like Amazon is going to reveal all of its rating secrets just yet.
Can You Trust Amazon Reviews?
We wouldn’t recommend basing your decision on whether to purchase a product solely on Amazon reviews.
Amazon’s third-party sellers are known to do whatever is necessary to entice consumers to buy their products. One of these ways involves buying customer reviews.
While it is not illegal to buy customer reviews, it is against Amazon’s policies. BlackHat World is the go-to place for buying fake customer reviews. In exchange for a review, the seller gives the fraudulent reviewer a coupon code and cash. The reviewer signs in to his Amazon account and purchases the seller’s product utilizing the coupon code. The seller in turn marks the item as shipped and several days later, the reviewer returns to Amazon to leave a positive review.
There are several ways to determine if a product review is legitimate. First, you can click on the reviewer’s user name. Here, you will find a list of reviews left by this individual. A red flag is all positive reviews. A mixture of positive and negative is about right when it comes to product reviews.
Another sure sign of fake reviews is parrot language, utilizing the same terminology over and over again. Poor grammar is another thing to be cautious about.
Consumers need to be aware of potentially fake reviews. While Amazon claims to be doing its part by weeding out these reviews, it is still an ongoing problem.