Amazon Reviews: Talking to Bots

There are few things that are more frustrating in life than having a problem and not feeling like you’re being heard. It’s even worse when a company sends a robot or auto-generated message your way. While Amazon says it’s trying to fix this, it’s hard to believe most of the time that any messages are being read by actual human beings.

I ran into this issue when a review of mine was taken down without any explanation.

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Amazon Reviews: How Amazon Encourages its Own Black Market

After I reached a reviewer ranking of less than 80,000 I started getting emails from Amazon sellers asking me to review their products. From an algorithmic standpoint this makes complete sense: products with more (and better) reviews are more likely to be seen by other customers and the best way to advertise to potential customers is by utilizing a system already in place on the website. Sellers will offer cash or heavy discounts to entice people to review their products – some ask for “good” reviews, others just ask for reviews.

Awkwardly, this is completely against Amazon’s stated policy, but it wasn’t always. Continue reading

Amazon Reviews: Strategy

If you have an internet connection, there’s a pretty good chance that at some point in time you’ve ordered something from Amazon. Amazon is great for retail consumers, it’s great for sellers, it’s great for software developers (Amazon Web Services), it’s great for affiliate marketers, it’s great for people who love instant gratification.

Point being that everyone uses Amazon, but not everyone uses it purposefully. A few months ago I happened to stumble across a few articles about Amazon Top Reviewers and the perks that come with having that title (the perks mostly include getting free things to review). After some hard-hitting research (read: clicking around Amazon) I found Amazon’s ranking criteria:

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