Amazon, one of the world’s top ecommerce sites, fights a constant battle against fake reviews posted by sellers trying to give their products a boost. Removing reviews is nothing new for Amazon. The online giant often removes that violate guidelines or that its algorithm flags as potentially problematic. But in Amazon’s latest round of review scraping, designed to remove fake reviews, the ecommerce giant removed some verified reviews posted by actual buyers from Amazon.
The site has also changed its review policies over the years. In 2016, Amazon stopped permitting incentivized reviews. While sellers have never been allowed to pay reviewers, until 2016, they could be compensated with free or discounted products. Despite the prohibition of compensating reviewers, apparently it still happens underground. In a quest for “verified” Amazon reviews, which are reviews written by someone who has actually purchased the product through the Amazon site, some sellers have been quietly paying reviewers after the fact through PayPal. In some cases, Amazon has even suspended buyer accounts because of these underground paid reviews.
Often, however, Amazon removes reviews because the reviewer has somehow violated Amazon’s rules. Amazon can remove reviews if a reviewer violates a community guideline or places a review on a product for which it received a deep discount. Amazon might also halt or remove reviews if the volume of reviews on a product suddenly increases drastically. While it can be frustrating for sellers and confusing for buyers, Amazon is attempting to create a better shopping experience for its buyers and its sellers.
Don’t worry! If you believe that Amazon has accidentally removed legitimate reviews, there is an appeals process. You can contact Amazon to start the process or contact your account manager.
Having advisors who have work with and understand the terms of service and the community guidelines for Amazon.com, Walmart.com and other key online marketplaces is important to getting the advice you need when you find your business has been the target of review scraping or product or account suspension. We have worked with numerous client to help guide them through their options.
If you need strategic, contractual, or strategic advice for your online business, our experienced attorneys can help you develop thoughtful solutions. Send us a message or call us at (314) 454-9100 to schedule a consultation.