Behind so many Amazon Marketplace product review are long stories of lies, deceit, manipulation and exchanges of money to inflate product reviews and product rankings as third party sellers try to outrank established brands for your hard earned money. If you’re an avid Amazon shopper, then the odds are very good that you’ve bought at least one (but probably far more) products in your time and made your shopping decisions off of reviews that looked legitimate, but were not.
A little background: Amazon Marketplace is a part of the Amazon platform where virtually anyone can sell their products on Amazon alongside products sold directly by the giant themselves. You pay Amazon their cut, and they’ll stock and ship your product right from their warehouse. You can cut out a lot of the logistics of running your own business, and tap into things like Amazon’s global distribution and shipping speeds as fast as same-day to get your products into your customer’s hands fast.
What this means in reality, is that a lot of the Marketplace is flooded with cheap products, knockoffs and imitations who are all competing with one another, and with big established brand names, for your hard earned money. Amazon has become the defacto storefront for Chinese sellers to get their junk into the hands of North Americans in a route far more direct than having to buy from various Chinese merchant sites. Ever notice when you search certain types of products that you’ll get three pages of products that look the same and have various silly brand names? This is one of the many telltale signs of overseas sellers buying white label products and fighting each other for who gets the top results on the search page.
The race to the top for your money has spawned a massive global black-market for “marketing”. These fly-by-night companies are breaking competition laws, manipulating reviews, manipulating reviewers, exchanging bribes, money and free product, paying off people to talk about them on YouTube and in web forums, and doing everything they can to make their product seem more superior than the competitor selling the same white label gadget, or the big name brand they’re trying to undercut.
Behind the Prime is my new series where I want to expose you to the dark side of Amazon. These posts will do everything from talk about the dirty review tactics being used, to telling you how to protect yourself and shop smarter, to exposing the brands who are doing this. When so many people Google these Amazon brands for research, all they get are bought and paid for shill blog posts raving about how awesome they are (after being paid to say so) – I want Google to start returning search results that show the truth about how these companies are approaching people. I’ll join the blackmarket communities, get myself on the underground mailing lists, and show you the dark side of Amazon Marketplace.