June 28, 2022


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Amazon's contradictory treatment of purchased reviews

Amazon’s contradictory treatment of purchased reviews

Amazon’s victory in Munich’s Higher Regional Court against purchased reviews can certainly be viewed favorably: the company has taken action against a provider that enables retailers to send products to testers, who then write a review in exchange for a service. With its implementation, Amazon has now realized that these providers must identify reviews as purchased (reported to us) reviews.

This is also absolutely true, because: when it comes to reviews, the reader expects an objective evaluation of the product. However, this objectivity is no longer given if the author receives a service for review. If these reviews are not specifically marked, they will have to be classified as hidden ads.

Amazon doesn’t like purchased reviews

The decision of the Higher Regional Court, which received much attention, may be correct in itself; A look at Amazon’s general terms and conditions leaves some surprising:

Here are some examples of customer reviews that we don’t allow: […] The customer posts a review and receives monetary compensation in return. […]”

In principle, the company does not tolerate reviews purchased on its platform. As already mentioned, the purchased reviews are not really objective. If the product is rated with too many paid reviews, it may distort the overall impression. So the rationale behind this rule is quite reasonable.

Why this request?

However, this raises a question: then why did Amazon require the provider to flag purchased reviews if those reviews weren’t allowed anyway? Instead, the algorithm recognizes the references as the “purchased review” and then deletes the review. Wouldn’t it have been better to legally require the discount to comply with Amazon’s terms and conditions? Such an application would be possible. If it’s not about the inner workings with comments. Amazon itself sells reviews. If Amazon had tried to compel the third party through court to comply with house rules, the suspicion of rights infringement would have been very clear.

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Product Testing Club – Amazon Fine

Amazon itself offers its own reviews through its Vine program: “Amazon Vine – Product Testers Club invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post their opinions on new and unpublished articles.” , as stated on the home page.

Everything works in such a way that a product is sent to a product tester and asked to rate it. There is no financial compensation for this; The product is actually given to the lab as a gift: “You are obligated to keep the products for six months, so you cannot sell them. In theory, Amazon can take them back during this period. In practice, this never happens. After the deadline, I can keep the product,” As one Vine tester says versus technology book on me. All the fun is paid for by the participating product suppliers.

Anyone who has ever dealt with this subject knows that in the case of hidden advertising it is not important whether a financial contribution has been made; It is enough to provide a service at all. That’s why YouTubers have to rank their videos accordingly if the manufacturer makes a product available to them for free.

Therefore, Amazon itself identifies the origin of these reviews by noting “Vine customers review a free product”. It is also obvious, because without this indication it would be a cryptic advertisement. And Amazon doesn’t like them.

Others are bad and we are good

Even if the ruling of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court seems very positive at first glance, there is still an old taste: Amazon presents itself as a marketplace in a way that it wants to give customers high-quality reviews so that the products can really be. Good online evaluation. Hence the Amazon Vine program. Third party providers with a similar business model are not allowed because they should not confuse the customer.

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In fact, Vine does not guarantee objective and high-quality reviews. In the end, testers seem to be swayed by the free products, which include everything from tampons to new laptops. There is no such thing as “honest and unbiased feedback from some of Amazon’s most trusted reviewers”. On average, forgive According to consumer advice Fine test 4.5 stars. For some product groups, there is talk of a torrent of reviews. It’s unclear why third-party providers should make this worse.

As a result, it should be clear to everyone that Amazon is not about the customer here, but about sales: firstly, good reviews boost sales and secondly, seller ratings should of course be purchased from Vine rather than third-party providers.