Unscrupulous sellers find ways to get positive customer reviews from other products and integrate them into their own listings for products that may be new and hence have no reviews or be poor quality and hence not want genuine reviews.
Most customers these days will check on product reviews and if there are large numbers of positive reviews then that is a buy signal. We rely on these reviews being largely genuine – there will always a tiny number of fake or exaggerated ones but we trust that the majority are real reviews by real purchasers of the product.
Positive reviews will push a product higher in Amazon’s internal search engine and might trigger an Amazon’s Choice badge—this endorsement is given to highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately.
There’s a lot of money at stake as more than two million companies sell products on Amazon marketplace for more than $100 billion each year.
Amazon say they spend over $400 million per year protecting customers from fake reviews, abuse, fraud, and other forms of misconduct.
Amazon allow reviews for products that are basically the same thing but in a different size for example or perhaps just a different colour. This makes sense If you were selling a beanie hat in 10 different colours and 3 different sizes – each with its own listing. You would expect any reviews to apply to all sizes and colours.
However, scammers use the merge process to take positive reviews from one product and attach them to quite separate products by cheating the system.
e.g. Which magazine found In a posture correction brace with size variations that included a card printing machine and dish washing wands. The reviews came from one of the products but can be used to advertise all three.
If you find a product on Amazon with reviews that clearly that belong with a different product, then Tweet @Amazon with a screenshot and use the hashtag #StopReviewHijacking
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.