Amazon filed a lawsuit this week against 10,000 Facebook group administrators for violating their terms of service. It’s the largest step they’ve taken to combat fake reviews on their marketplace.
As consumers and resellers on Amazon know, the reviews on Amazon are the nucleus of the marketplace. For consumers, reviews offer social proof of unknown brands’ quality. Resellers know the Amazon search algorithm weighs reviews highly and it’s important to have quantity and 5-star quality. The need for reviews has resulted in sellers turning to methods outside of Amazon, whose own methods of procuring reviews takes time.
Facebook groups have been flagrantly advertising their services with group names such as “Amazon Product Review” (with more than 43,000 members). Facebook claims these groups violate their terms, but with over 10,000 identified groups they have previously done little to enforce the policy. For Amazon to sue these administrators, whose identity is not available, means it was coordinated with help from Facebook. There’s a reason for this coordination.
Since 2019, Amazon has pledged to eliminate fake reviews. The U.K.’s antitrust regulator is actively investigating whether Amazon is doing enough. Three years ago, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued a 3rd party website Amazon identified as offering a paid review service. Regulators are concerned about fake reviews misleading consumers and Amazon, Google, and Facebook are at the center.
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How E-Commerce Sellers Can Respond
Now that Amazon is taking manipulated reviews more seriously, Amazon sellers who are struggling or who relied on fake reviews need to act now. The best way to do this is by taking control of their sales channel. This means building out a direct-to-consumer model on their own e-commerce website where they have control.
Amazon is a customer acquisition tool and an awareness channel that is very effective at exposing new clients to a brand. For brands with an e-commerce website, now is the time to invest the resources to build out the capabilities of controlling the customer experience on their terms.
Questions to consider regarding your branded e-commerce site:
- Does your e-commerce website rank #1 when people search for your product?
- Is the branding on your Amazon products simple and clear so people can clearly understand how to find you elsewhere online?
- Do you include a card with your product listing support options that include emailing your company directly (within Amazon terms)?
- When customers come to your website, are you capturing their email and SMS number and making purchasing easy with multiple payment options?
In short, selling on any marketplace puts others in control of the destiny of e-commerce sellers. Marketplaces are a great place to start selling online, but the value of an e-commerce company depends on the brand’s ownership of the customer experience. Having a robust website that actively lures customers in will help you pick off engaged customers and prevent them from shopping competitors.
If you need assistance with your e-commerce website performance, please review our free resources. If you’d like an ecommerce agency to assist you we are available with email, SEO, content and strategy services.
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