When selling on Amazon, customer reviews play a big role in the sales and popularity of a product. After receiving a product, customers have the option of leaving a review on how the product was and if it met their expectations. The reviews can range from 1-5 stars, and buyers are allowed to leave feedback through comments on how their experience went as well. When the reviews are positive, other potential customers can learn about the reality of the product and make a purchase if they are satisfied with what they are reading. However, if the reviews are negative, it is likely that others will read them and turn away from purchasing the product, resulting in a loss of sales. To combat this, some sellers have turned to engaging in unethical practices by manipulating their customer reviews section to make it seem like the product has positive reviews and is therefore valuable. These practices on Amazon are called review manipulation.

What is Review Manipulation and How is it Done?

Review manipulation is the process of gaining positive reviews for your products through an illegitimate means. This would mean that the customer reviews section of your product listing would be filled with positive reviews and impact the feedback of the product. The ways review manipulation can be done include having outsider reviews of people who haven’t even purchased the product, such as hiring people solely for writing fake reviews. It can also be done by creating several accounts and writing reviews from there. Offering cheaper products in exchange for reviews can also be considered review manipulation. Additionally, anything that gives sellers an unfair advantage within their feedback could fall under review manipulation. If a seller is caught engaging in review manipulation, they can face grievous penalties, such as losing their entire Amazon account.

Why Engage in Review Manipulation?

Positive reviews help increase the sales of a product. If a product is seen as durable, effective, and valuable, consumers are far more likely to purchase it. However, if a product isn’t found helpful to a large amount of people, it can easily be neglected, and sales would drop. This is why some sellers may turn to these illegitimate means to try and gain a better review on their product. Oftentimes, sellers can conduct these activities with an increase in short-term sales, however it could end up paying lots in the long run, including having your account removed completely and therefore ending your sales altogether.

Amazon’s Anti-Manipulation Policy

Review manipulation results in dishonest sellers and unethical practices amongst Amazon, which can make shopping online inaccurate and disliked amongst consumers. However, Amazon has an anti-manipulation policy which prevents sellers from engaging in these practices and puts a suspension on their accounts until sufficient proof is provided claiming otherwise. Amazon takes this policy very seriously and will immediately “suspend or terminate your Amazon privileges, remove reviews, and delist related products.” In addition, these actions can lead to legal problems, as stated on their website. Because of the severity of the consequences that Amazon has, it’s essential to protect yourself from review manipulation accusations.

How Do I Avoid Review Manipulation?

There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to prevent your Amazon account from being suspended due to review manipulation. For one, never influence people to write reviews in exchange for discounts, refunds, or any other benefit. This can easily be considered review manipulation and put you in trouble. There’s also no need to offer people a gift to change their reviews. If you must, you can reach out to those with negative reviews and try to make it better for them by looking for a solution to their comments. Then afterwards, once the product is replaced or the problem is fixed, they may consider changing their reviews and putting up a positive one. This is actually a common method that sellers use to combat negative reviews and try to provide a better experience to buyers. It’s safe, positive, and shows that the sellers care about the experience of their customers. However, keep in mind to avoid making suggestions to remove the negative review or anything of the like, or it can put you under risk of review manipulation. Taking these precautions can help you avoid review manipulation claims and protect your Amazon account from being suspended.

Illegitimate Review Manipulation?

While Amazon created their Anti-Manipulation policy as a means to protect against unethical sellers issuing fake reviews, some authentic and legitimate sellers are being affected by it. Amazon might suspend your account despite you not having done anything wrong. This would surely be a mistake on Amazon’s side, and it’s essential to defend yourself against it to keep selling. Unfortunately, Amazon suspends your account first, and then requires an appeal to be submitted, rather than the other way around. This is why sometimes review manipulation accusations can be issued out of the blue and catch you by surprise. If Amazon notices anything odd about your reviews that would make them illegitimate or finds that you are hiring for a job that sounds like a review opportunity, then they could suspend your account and accuse you of review manipulation.

Accused of Review Manipulation?

If you have found yourself accused of review manipulation and had your Amazon account suspended for it, there may be ways to gain it back. Firstly, Amazon requires that you submit an appeal to them within 17 days. That’s right- 17 days is all you get to come up with an appeal to try and refute the review manipulation claim against you. This means that you must work hard and fast to find out what you need to create your appeal, how to make it match Amazon’s expected format, and complete the necessary steps to successfully get it approved. This all can be difficult to achieve given the limited amount of time and the many requirements, but luckily, our experts are experienced in reclaiming Amazon accounts for all sorts of suspensions, including review manipulation. We can assist you with gaining your Amazon account back and selling your products again.