I could have made an easy $50. That is a Problem for Amazon.

So I am a Vine reviewer. And I am an honest reviewer. If I love a product, you will know it. If I hate a product, you will know it. Yesterday I received not one, but two emails offering me $25 each to remove negative reviews from Amazon.

The two emails came from different gmail accounts and are worded identically, though they point to different products.

Here is the text of the emails:

Email one:

Dear Julie Ann Dawson,

This is Tracy, we are really sorry that you are not satisfied with ANEWKODI AC1200Mbps USB Wifi Adapter from our store on Amazon.

We have already changed to another manufacturer to ensure the better quality and service according to your review “And then the only other way to get the drivers is the very suspicious address provided in the comments section that goes to a zip file that set off my antivirus software’s bells and whistles.”.

We are a very small business that depends on reviews from our dear customers, like you, we will not survive without your help.

By the way, If you don’t mind removing your review. We can issue you refund $25 for the trouble.

Could you help me to remove?

here is link for review:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2OSW16U7B3THH/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07GWP2SPB

here is how to remove:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=16465311

Thank you!

We would be appreciated if you would give us a chance to address your concerns.

Wish you and your family have a good day. Looking forward to your reply.

Sincerely

Tracy

Email two:

Dear Julie Ann Dawson,

This is Tracy, we are really sorry that you are not satisfied with Fun Life Bento Lunch Box from our store on Amazon.

We have already changed to another manufacturer to ensure the better quality and service according to your review “The problem with this kit is that there are too many compartments..”.

We are a very small business that depends on reviews from our dear customers, like you, we will not survive without your help.

By the way, If you don’t mind removing your review. We can issue you refund $25 for the trouble.

Could you help me to remove?

here is link for review:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3JLFOHH6MH4V5/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B07DNTQTKB

here is how to remove:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=16465311

Thank you!

We would be appreciated if you would give us a chance to address your concerns.

Wish you and your family have a good day. Looking forward to your reply.

Sincerely

Tracy

Now I KNOW what is going on. There are companies that sell “reputation services” that will help you remove negative reviews. My guess is that these vendors both hired the same company, who is then sending out bulk bribes to get people to remove negative reviews. If I had no scruples, I could have potentially made an easy $50 today.

Doing anything to manipulate the reviews, either bribing people to leave five star reviews OR bribing people to remove negative reviews, violates the Amazon TOS. So these companies either didn’t read the TOS or are just confident they won’t get caught or Amazon won’t do anything to them (I did report the incidents)

Of course, Amazon is perpetuating this problem by providing consumer information to these vendors in the first place. In both cases, these were Vine reviews. There is no reason the vendors should have been given my contact info. Now I suffer no delusions and know that I am not a hard person to find. But I also have about two dozen different email addresses, so the chances of the company in question selecting at random the email address I actually use for Amazon is slim. As a Vine reviewer, I have no expectation that my contact information is being shared with these vendors. And doing so leaves the system open to this very sort of abuse.

I have been saying for years that the Amazon star system is broken beyond repair. This is just more evidence to that. The review system cannot be trusted, because it is too easily manipulated and Amazon has lost complete control of it. For people who wonder why Bards and Sages doesn’t do anything to get reviews on Amazon…this is why. For every honest vendor with legitimate good reviews, you have who knows how many who have paid for a bunch of fake reviews or paid to have negative reviews removed. And because the manipulation is so easy to do and so overt, it puts a cloud over every honest vendor with legitimate reviews, because it has gotten to a point where there is NO WAY to know if reviews are legitimate or not.

Even the “verified purchase” badge means nothing, because the review sellers just create fake accounts, buy the product, and then get refunded by the vendor for the cost of the product. Or the vendor actively solicits people to buy the product, leave a review, and then get a refund plus a bonus (I have gotten such solicitations through Facebook messenger and email to do just that). If you are willing to spend a grand, you could get dozens of “verified purchase” reviews, all five stars, even if your product is absolute junk.

And then when the “real” negative reviews start to hit, you just offer some cash to make them disappear. In all honesty, ask yourself if you would walk away from $50 if all you had to do was hit the “delete” button?

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