The BBC reported that Amazon marketers are being abused by independent vendors to harm rivals.
Newsnight spoke about the number of affected people who believe their sales have suffered.
A consumer rights champion now wants the UK watchdog to be investigated further, as part of an investigation into fake reviews already underway.
Amazon claims to be “tireless” in dealing with review manipulation.
Nevertheless, some of them believe that it cannot eliminate the problem.
Third-party vendors have sold more physical goods on Amazon’s site than US tech giants every year since 2015, according to their own data.
Online shopping in the UK is believed to have been influenced by £ 23bn reviews.
It is perhaps not surprising that some online retailers are playing dirty.
“The sad part is that you can get five positive reviews, like five-star reviews – but if you’ve got one or two one-star reviews, it will be very difficult to compete,” Johnson Smith, a third-party Amazon seller , Told the BBC.
I asked if he would like 20 additional five reviews with a single star rating.
Fake positive reviews on the net are a well-known problem.
Previous reports have uncovered “factories” of fake reviewers posting five-star write-ups in exchange for free foreign exchange.
But now some vendors believe that this is fake one-star feedback which is the new frontier of review manipulation.
Ella Keys was on the cusp of selling post-pregnancy products on Amazon.
She says she had about 60 reviews, almost all of them positive. She was earning around £ 3,000 a month.
Then something strange happened – she received a rash of one-star reviews.
“Initially when the first pair arrived it didn’t make much of an impact because I had enough positive reviews to make up for it,” she said.
“But when more and more started coming in, I saw that sales only fell off a cliff.
“Anything below [an average of] 4.5 And you are kind. ”
Ella believes that some of these negative reviews were fake, and she began to feel stressed.
He left the enterprise after a few months.
Johnson Smith says something similar happened to him, but he decided to go down without a fight.
He cross-referenced the negative reviews he had received with orders, and realized that almost all came from dubious accounts. He managed to get Amazon to take them out.
He has since set up an online consultation to help other Amazon sellers face this and other bills.
“I think now sellers have realized that it is very difficult to get fake four-star or five-star reviews,” he explained.
“So they hang on ‘like’ now let’s bring the competition down so that our score is relatively high.”
Collectively, independent sellers generate around £ 150bn global sales per year through Amazon.
Find the right place and make money there.
There are valid ways to conduct negative reviews. For example, if a seller receives a poor response due to poor delivery – for which they were not responsible – they can get Amazon to remove it.
But there’s a big no-no: Amazon’s rules forbid customers from bribing or trying to blackmail them.
This is to say that some unscrupulous sellers do not try.
A customer – who asked to remain anonymous – told the BBC about ordering some knitting needles that never arrived.
He left a negative review as a result. Upon seeing this, the Chinese seller offered a full refund upon returning it.
I alerted Amazon to the case. The seller has since been suspended.
Which consumer group? This problem is not uncommon, and extends to other online stores.
“People have told us that when they left negative reviews, they would have to negotiate with the seller or be bullied by the seller to remove their negative negative reviews,” said the campaign’s group head Nina Bhati.
Amazon responded that it wanted people to shop with confidence on its platform, and was resolving the problem.
“We have clear policies for both reviewers and selling partners, which prevent the misuse of our community facilities, and we impose legal sanctions, sanctions and take legal action against those who violate these policies.”
In May, the Competition and Markets Authority began investigating online reviews. Which which? It now seeks to incorporate negative review manipulation.
The regulator declined to comment.
Whatever it ultimately recommends, it is likely that efforts to prevent review manipulation will offer only temporary relief. One plugged in, and the other will be found.
“I really think that Amazon does as good a job as it can, but I think it’s a bit of a cat and mouse game” Mr. Smith said.
“Amazon is one step behind, and they are always playing catch-up.”
- Competition and market authority