Secret Amazons false evaluation ecosystem: regular sellers pressure mountain

category:Internet
 Secret Amazons false evaluation ecosystem: regular sellers pressure mountain


The following is the main content of the article: One morning in late January, Jack (Jake) picked up the box on the table, tore up the tape, took out the iPhone handset in the box, took the picture, and uploaded the Amazon evaluation he was writing. The evaluation includes a streamlined design for the mobile phone set and a cool and clear volume button. He has a brilliant title (perfect cell phone set!! The advertising campaign was concluded and the product was praised by five stars. Click. Submission. Jack has never used the handset. He doesnt even have a iPhone. Jack then copied the evaluation link and pasted it into a Slack channel for paid Amazon commentators. The channel is also available only by invited users. A day later, he received a notice from PayPal that he had a new transaction record on his account: a $10 refund for his completely useless mobile phone, and a $3 fee paid to him - and he could make more if he could sell the iPhone handset. Jack is not his real name. He and four other BuzzFeedNews commentators wanted anonymity because they feared that Amazon would seal off their accounts. They are part of a large and invisible workforce, contributing to the false evaluation economy in every corner of the first big network retail platform. Attracted by fast money and free things, they offer a lot of false five star comments on all kinds of products on Amazon, such as LED lights, dog bowls, clothing and even antenatal vitamins health products - all in order to convince you that the product is the best, and this pushes up a share of the Amazon gold rush. Sales of profiteers. Meanwhile, the orderly sellers are working hard in a sea of fraudulent reviews, while buyers inadvertently buy products of low quality or major defects. And Amazon is almost powerless to stop it all. Overflowing of false evaluation The system of creating false reviews is an intricate network, covering reddit sub communities, Invitational Slack channels, private Discord servers and closed Facebook groups, but their motivation is simple: on Amazons extremely competitive sales platform, the five star praise for the scale of the product Selling is very important, so businesses are willing to spend money to find thousands of people to write good reviews for their products. Amazon has a market capitalization of more than $760 billion and is the worlds second most valuable company after Apple Corp. Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos (JeffBezos) recently revealed that the number of Prime global paid members exceeds 100 million. These members are the most loyal customers of Amazon. The $119 annual service will bring a variety of benefits to members, including free two day service, music and television and film streaming services, electronic library services, and so on. The company operates 13 third party seller markets worldwide and stores stock in more than 150 warehouses. In 2017, third party businesses brought Amazon $32 billion in revenue. Almost 300 thousand of new sellers joined the platform last year alone. The best way to succeed on Amazon is to get good reviews, and the best way to get good reviews is to buy reviews. Product evaluation is good for buyers to screen goods in this dazzling crowded market, which is the best opportunity for the seller to stand out in the fierce competition. In a 2011 survey, 87% of consumers said they were praised for driving them to make a decision to buy products; online customer evaluation was a second trusted source of product information, second only to family and friends. But only 3% to 10% of the customers will leave a comment. The best way to succeed on Amazon is to get good reviews, and the best way to get good reviews is to buy reviews. In October 2016, Amazon banned third party sellers from offering free products or large discounts in exchange for customer reviews. However, Tommy Noonan (TommyNoonan), chief executive of ReviewMeta, on Amazons commodity analysis website, said his abnormal evaluation - that his algorithm shows a false evaluation - has returned to the Amazons platform. In June 2017, Noonan noticed that the abnormal rating increased, and the average score of the product was also rising, and the growth rate thereafter did not slow down. Amazons ban did not prevent sellers from recruiting commentators. This will only turn this activity into a secret. Critics are not only motivated by free goods, they can give cash in return for giving five star reviews. Bad reviews have also become more difficult to find: they also do not contain any information disclosure (because the paid evaluation is prohibited, the disclosure will show that the evaluation is a violation of the Amazon clause.) Paid commentators usually buy products on their Amazon account, pay for their own credit cards, and spend at least $50. All of this is in line with the criteria for verifiedpurchase, which indicates that customers who write commodity reviews have the product on Amazon, so their evaluation will have this mark. Amazon would not like to comment on the number of evaluations on its platform, whether it is false evaluation or total evaluation. But according to the analysis of Amazons data, there are 250 million estimates on the Amazon platform. The website of ReviewMeta has collected 58 million 500 thousand evaluations, while the 9.1% of the data sets in the dataset are anomalous, that is, about 5 million 300 thousand evaluations. An Amazon spokeswoman told BuzzFeedNews that the proportion of unreal evaluations on the company platform was tiny, but she declined to give details. Amazon is investing heavily to detect and prevent unreal evaluations, she wrote in a statement. In addition to pre - testing, we use machine learning algorithms to give more weights to new and more helpful evaluations, and to enforce strict standards for the threshold of Amazon s confirmation of purchase identification, and to increase the amount of transactions involved in the evaluation. The spokesman said that the internal investigators also surveyed and evaluated the non Amazon forum which was used to buy reviews. Amazon said it would block or temporarily freeze accounts belonging to any participant. However, a dialogue with sellers, customers and critics indicates that despite the efforts made by the company, the problem of false evaluation still exists. Abnormal evaluation does not necessarily mean poor quality of products. But the problem of payment evaluation is that they make consumers, even smart consumers, difficult to determine whether they want to buy something good or bad. In December, Kevin Horta (KevinVotaw, Colorado), using her girlfriends Amazon Prime account, ordered a highly rated Samsung GalaxyS8 screen protection film for $10. He said the protective film was too bad: the material was too thick for typing, so the product was useless. It is dismayed to ask for a refund to Amazon. The product can not be returned because it has a sticky adhesive base and can no longer be used. I went back to the product page and thought, these comments must be false, he said. But the product is no longer sold - just as the company has launched these protective membranes in batch, it has completely withdrawn from Amazon platform afterwards. After BuzzFeedNews, Amazon deleted the screen of the screen protection film, but the other two products were almost identical to 550 and 150 of the list evaluation scales, and they were a five star praise and unverified. The ecological circle behind it In the search box of Facebook, enter AmazonReview (Amazon evaluation), there will be more than 100 groups appear. The two popular groups, AmazonReviewClub and the US-AmazonReviewClub, have 69 thousand and 60 thousand members, which have recently been closed, but more groups still remain, each of which has tens of thousands of members. A product listed by the group is the attitude corrector, which aims to train you to sit upright. This product post offers an exceptionally high commission: a $30 Amazon Gift card that includes $20 for the product and $10 for the evaluator. The evaluator needs to be a member of the Amazon Prime, and the comments need to be attached. At the same time, the /r/slavelabour sub community with 36 thousand and 629 members on reddit has the official process to provide potential Amazon commentators. The task released by the seller includes a positive evaluation of the product -- or a product star rating for the competitor. There is a task that reads: evaluators do not need to verify anything, so this task will not occupy you for more than a minute. I will send you the link of the product, and you will give a short star rating, thats all. Once the evaluation appears on Amazon, I will pay you 5 dollars through Paypal. Within one week, 27 users made a tender for the task, expressing their interest. The most active commentator became the head of the hunt, dedicated to recruiting users of /r/slavelabour sub community to the private Discord server or Slack channel designed for Amazon to evaluate the ecosphere. In January 13th, the servers moderator launched a task called BeforeYouGoToTheToiletPoopSpray, which involves a toilet deodorizing spray product from VeilFragrances. In an e-mail to BuzzFeedNews, a VeilFragrances representative, Greg Doni (GregDoney), admitted that the company had paid a high praise, but you have to do it, because without them, your product is hard to sell. Take a closer look at the history of customer reviews of toilet deodorizing spray, and you will find a pattern. In addition to the toilet deodorization spray, two Amazon customers, Blaine (Brian) and Sharon (Sharon), also gave a high evaluation of a floating triangular stent. The product was released on the Discord server. Blaine said the product was a very strong shelf (it was a scaffold, not an independent shelf), and Sharon pointed out that they were easy to install and durable. At the same time, negative comments warn consumers to never buy! and too much money, saying that the scaffold will damage walls and make poor workmanship. The scaffold did not respond to BuzzFeedNewss request for comment on its Amazon sellers page. ) The two accounts also evaluated boric acid suppository for vaginal health. According to the product description, the drug is inserted into the vagina two times a day for two weeks. It claims to provide vaginal health support to ease the smell, itching, pain and burning sensation. In January 22nd, the drug was released to the Discord server - Blaine and Sharon made comments shortly afterwards. Blaine commented that his girlfriend felt pain during sex, but it wasnt because of me, and this medicine cured her. Sharon mentioned that this is the most affordable option for womens health and health. None of these comments were labeled as confirm purchase. The five-star evaluation from D.Pham even said boric acid tastes bad, though it is not oral. (D.Pham also gave a five star evaluation of a floating triangular stent. ) At the same time, an evaluator to one star said the product was a nightmare because it feels like a mixture of cement in my vagina, grit, and completely dry. Another evaluator said the drug caused a strong burning sensation lasting for several hours. The company did not respond to a reporters request for comment. According to Dr. Jenny Jacques (JennyJaque), assistant professor of gynaecology at Keck medical school at University of Southern California, boric acid suppositories can only be used under the supervision of medical services under specific circumstances. Boric acid is not candy, you need to be careful. She said, it can cause irritation: your vagina will be injured; you will feel pain, just like your vagina is on fire. She added, if it is eaten accidentally, it will really make people poisoned. The Discord server recently released curcumin vitamins and inositol capsules produced by the same brand. Two products are listed in the category of prenatal vitamins. Sharon and D.Pham gave these two prenatal vitamins five stars. Their comments were labeled confirm purchase. The company did not respond to a reporters request for comment. Amazon said it had implemented more stringent standards for the evaluation of the purchase confirmation logo. American evaluators must use password protected accounts and pay $50 or more on Amazon with a valid credit card. So, she was looking for a solution. At that time, she was a 40 year old nursing student. On the old-fashioned sheets, the design of a hanging belt was clumsy, so she invented her own design and made a simple buttonbutton tightening device with a shock rope. She named her new invention BedBand. Jimmy Whirry then persuaded his wife to start selling BedBand on Amazon. The product is very good, and many people want to buy: in the next few years, BedBand has become Amazons best-selling bed sheet, with annual sales of $700 thousand. In October 2014, BedBands annual revenue dropped by half to around $350 thousand. She gave up her nursing career, and Jim joined the company as a chief operating officer. Someone is selling copies of our products. We cant use our patents because they have not yet been granted. She said. A large number of counterfeit products sold in the Alibabas global fast selling line have poured into the Amazons sheet looser market, and many of them have quickly received dozens of five star reviews. In the next eight months, BedBand sales plummeted. We were very sad at the time, said Hui Li. We are thinking whether we should go back to work again. At that time, she had to lay off 8 contract workers, equivalent to half of the staff. Recognizing that Amazon is our hypermarket, it will be very stressful. After the BedBand was patented, Amazon banned the cottage products immediately. It was already a year later when sales began to fall. The patent did not prevent competitors from leaving a bad comment on BedBands merchandise page: you begin to see more deeply... You can see that they left five star awards for our competitors. Or you will find that two different buyers have been evaluating the same product, that is, our competitors products. She said. BedBand is currently the best selling elastic band, but it may not last long. We realize that Amazon is our hypermarket and it will be very stressful, said Hui Li. In order to diversify her income, she began selling BedBand on WAL-MART, Jet.com, Sears stores and other retailers e-commerce platforms. When it comes to Amazon, Huili is very careful. The platform is her main source of income. I dont want to create chaos for my platform, she said. But she seemed uncomfortable with the algorithm constrained by Amazon: in some days, our ranking fell to fifth place at once. When you see a rapid change like this, our competitors suddenly appear some comments, you will feel depressed. You dont know if your sales will be crushed by these competitors tomorrow. The mentality of paid evaluators Paid write evaluation is a modern lemon juice stall. This is a quick and simple way of making money, and it can bring free things, but not a profession. Because bidding, writing and trading are all done online, it can be done on your laptop in your bedroom. Many of the reviewers interviewed by BuzzFeedNews are men who are about twenty years old. They regard this activity as a hobby. Everyone wants to be anonymous, because the fear of being caught by Amazon usually leads to the right to be revoked, and in the most serious case, it will be banned from using the same delivery address or payment method with a new account. Josh (Josh, a pseudonym) did not do this work long enough; he found it through the /r/slavelabour sub community of reddit. He said he did this to get those products: you can keep the product, so this is a great benefit. In my opinion, testing new and unique products is very interesting. The most diligent paid assessor becomes the moderator and starts to do his own appraisal transaction. Frank (Frank, alias) manages a Slack channel for Amazon in his spare time. The 18 year old chamber of Commerce was looking for products that were not well rated on Amazon, providing the sellers of those products with their Slack channel evaluation services. Products with less evaluation and lower score are the best candidates. He pointed out, if there are only 30 comments on the product page and the average score is only 2.5 stars, then it will be worth a try. I will contact the seller. Frank earned only $20 a month through evaluation, sometimes earning more by bargaining with the seller. He said, I drew about 30% of every evaluation I wrote from our evaluators. Much of Franks income comes from reselling goods he reviews on eBay, which is about a few hundred dollars a month. Another evaluator Evan (Evan) is a member of the Slack channel composed of 10 people. Each month, he writes reviews and can earn about 75 dollars. He wrote more than 150 commentaries, including a load bearing vest, a 30 day hair growth pill and a car phone charger. This is very conducive to my ongoing small investment and savings. He said. When writing a paid evaluation, Evan will get inspiration from the original evaluation. Then I will put together a few key words. However, an evaluator named Devan (who asks for his name only) denies that he has any misconduct and does not mind his name. The university student vowed that he was giving his true thoughts and that the paid Amazon assessment was not a hoax. Before BuzzFeedNews told him, he did not know that paid reviews violated Amazons terms of service. He acknowledged that he did benefit from a paid comment (he wrote every day): he reused the eBay trade from the Amazons foam packaging and other transportation materials, and he resale the goods he bought through eBay. However, he said that the paid evaluation on Amazon is only an evolution of marketing strategy, which has been in existence for a long time. In sports events, MountainDew will provide free soda water, and if people like it, it will be sent to social media. Its the same in essence, and you can get free samples in good market or WAL-MART. Said the German. Some of these sellers are small family businesses, and many companies just want your true feedback. I know a lot of people write evaluation not for money. They just want to find better products for people. German said. German is right - there are many small family businesses on Amazon platform, just like the BedBand business of Wylie. However, more and more sellers are people who have little e-business experience or product expertise, and they want to take advantage of Amazons huge customer base - they need praise to replace the original best - selling products. Through Amazon FBA or Amazon logistics, anyone can set up their own Amazon store. The process is simple: buy products from an online wholesale supplier (such as Alibaba global quick sell), then send inventory to a warehouse in Amazon, and then Amazon will be responsible for all distribution, from payment to order execution to delivery. David (David, a pseudonym) is a FBA seller who has considered buying five star reviews. The people who feel the most profitable are those who violate Amazons terms of service. He said. David did not invent anything. He didnt go to a medical school. But he sells suture Training Pads for medical professionals on Amazon for about $1000 a month. Its a hobby, like an electronic game. In addition, Warren Buffett (WarrenBuffett) once said, if you want to make money, you must practise making money. This is a hobby, just like a video game. In addition, Warren Buffett (WarrenBuffett) once said, if you want to make money, you must practise making money. David started from a website called JungleScout. The annual subscription cost of the site is about $350, and it provides data indicators that show which products Amazon customers have the most - and which category of hot selling sellers are poor or rated. The score generally shows that in this market, other sellers have the opportunity to grab the customer with that low score product. I found that suture Training Pads belong to the category of products, which are oriented to medical students, analogous to simulated skin. Then I went to the Alibaba platform. All the Chinese suppliers are there, and they can meet bulk orders. David - and other FBA sellers like him - poured into the Amazon suture training mat Market. He said, the first guy, the guy on the JungleScout, began to lose a lot of sales because of the influx of competitors. According to David, it is obvious that the seller named YourDesignMedical left a lot of bad reviews of one star and two stars on the competitors product page. (Amazon said that after its investigation, it did not find the YourDesignMedical abuse evaluation system. YourDesignMedical did not reply to BuzzFeedNewss request for comment to its customer support mailbox. ) In Davids view, the only new seller who sells well is also cheating. It had also been criticized by YourDesignMedical before. There are 33 five-star reviews on the sellers merchandise page. You cant get 33 comments in two months. This is unusual for products like this. In the end, David did not buy the praise, but he added, if I really need FBA to make a living, I will do that. What should Amazon do Many paid appraisers and those who employ them do not consider themselves a black sheep. They say they are just one of thousands of commentators and sellers who do the same thing. They say a shortcut is to make competition more fair. In Amazons huge platform, there are many places to hide, optimize and cheat - and, because the sellers cant control the algorithms, they will do as much as they can to affect them. Amazon has tried to crack down on the false evaluation on its platform. The company prosecuted more than 1000 people who wrote or sold false reviews. In 2015, in a lawsuit against freelancers on Fiverr, Amazon said it attached great importance to the credibility of customer reviews, and said, although a small amount, these comments would greatly undermine consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers of Amazons trust, and then damage Amazons brand. In its third party sellers platform guide (a third party seller offered to BuzzFeedNews), Amazon said the seller cant get an evaluation by providing compensation, you cant evaluate your product or competitors product. The seller can let the buyer write the evaluation in a neutral manner, instead of giving a special request for a positive evaluation, or asking the evaluator to modify or delete their evaluation. However, all these actions still exist. Sam Feldman, SamFeldman, started selling CardBuddy on Amazon, a wallet designed for mobile phones. CardBuddy is the first leather product on Amazons similar products, but Feldman has no patents. Competitors soon copied the product and its packaging, and even copied the pictures of CardBuddy. A seller received 500 comments in two months. According to Feldman, those comments are obviously false. One day, my sales reduced by half, which made me very depressed. Feldman told BuzzFeedNews, the situation has not improved. The competition is getting bigger and bigger. Maybe they have better pictures or better headlines. But I dont know what to do. He said. Amazon spokesman said, we encourage the right owners who have the authenticity of products to inform us; we will conduct a full investigation of all requests. Once counterfeit and inferior products are found, we will remove them immediately and permanently prohibit those who violate the rules from selling on Amazon. Feldman said the company quickly banned the copied products and labeled CardBuddy as its copyright owner. But according to him, Amazon took a few months to clear hundreds of false comments. Feldman believes that Amazon can do more to solve the fraud problem on its platform: on the one hand, Amazon created the platform, and then they invited people to sell goods on their web site. Amazon understands the whole system, not for me. I can understand that. But at the same time, if you earn your living on its platform, what will you do? For Amazon, it is a tough job to ban false evaluations. In doing so, the company will have the risk of alienating the seller, and the seller is the core of its business. In 2017, more than half of Amazons global sales came from third party sellers, and more than 14 thousands of sellers, defined by Amazon as small and medium, sold more than $100 thousand. The company gains not only income from its own goods, but also revenue from every sale that is completed through its website, from the cost of distribution orders calculated by weight to the storage space in its distribution center. In 2016, Amazon earned $23 billion from sellers services. Amazon is really a good website, but the false evaluation is flooding the Internet. I dont know who can stop it. The cheater always cheats. Just as entrepreneurs scramble to start a business at the time of the Internet boom, people are competing on Amazon, and a web site like the Alibabas global quick sell makes it easy for anyone to get a lot of stock. The upsurge, including getting positive comments to the top of Amazons search algorithm, is to sell out inventory as soon as possible - eliminating the speed and rough sellers that cant keep up with the platform algorithm. Amazon is trying to drive false comments out of its Web site, whether through legal proceedings, or through artificial censorship and algorithm, but those who make untrue evaluation can always avoid Amazons strike action. Just like Twitter, Facebook and Google, Amazon began to create a neutral platform, inviting the Internet to do something. But like Twitter, Facebook and Google, Amazon also makes its platform bigger and more comprehensive - and its development goes far beyond its control. But the difference between Amazon and Twitter is that the livelihoods of its users depend on the former. At the same time, Amazons customers are ignorant of the complex mechanisms behind the seemingly authentic evaluation of their purchase decisions - and continue to buy inferior products that are not at the end of their expectations. When asked what Amazon could do to make the false evaluation far away from its platform, cherry stopped for a while. Nowadays, false comments and sales are so closely intertwined. I dont know how they can get rid of it. It looks hopeless. The evaluation process was amazing at the very beginning, but now it has been destroyed. She said. She sighed deeply, and then said, Amazon is really a good website, but false comments are overrun on the Internet. I dont know who can stop it. The cheater always cheats. (ROBOM) source: NetEase science and technology report editor: Yao Liwei _NT6056 At the same time, Amazons customers are ignorant of the complex mechanisms behind the seemingly authentic evaluation of their purchase decisions - and continue to buy inferior products that are not at the end of their expectations. When asked what Amazon could do to make the false evaluation far away from its platform, cherry stopped for a while. Nowadays, false comments and sales are so closely intertwined. I dont know how they can get rid of it. It looks hopeless. The evaluation process was amazing at the very beginning, but now it has been destroyed. She said. She sighed deeply, and then said, Amazon is really a good website, but false comments are overrun on the Internet. I dont know who can stop it. The cheater always cheats. (ROBOM)