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Bribed … the key to gaining coveted ‘Amazon’s Choice’ label

I ordered a key finder from Amazon and found a card in the box offering a $10 voucher in return for a five-star rating provided I did not mention this “rebate activity”!

Now I understand why it got such good reviews.

AS, France

The item was sold by China-based firm Reekede Direct and fulfilled by Amazon, who marked it “Amazon’s Choice”. This sought-after label, designed to flag up “highly rated, well-priced products”, can triple sales and is reliant on glowing reviews. Small wonder, then, that unscrupulous sellers seek to win the accolade by bribing customers to leave five-star feedback. Last month my colleague Miles Brignall reported an identical case of a reader who was offered a $20 voucher to praise a poor-quality wall stud finder. The same week, media reports featured a number of Amazon customers offered vouchers worth more than the product.

A recent survey by consumer group Which? found large-scale abuse of Amazon’s review system to promote low-grade products and warned customers to beware of unknown brands with a disproportionate number of five-star ratings. Amazon told the Observer it was “relentless” in its efforts to protect the integrity of reviews and had spent $400m in the last year to crack down on fraudulent posts. “We use a combination of automated technology and teams of trained human investigators who analyse multiple data points to determine authenticity,” it said. “Last year, we took action against more than five million bad accounts attempting to manipulate reviews.”

That “relentlessness” has not stopped Reekede continuing to advertise its key finder, still showing as Amazon’s Choice thanks to reviews, 81% of which are five star. It’s a shame that more customers don’t flag up bribery, as you did, instead of pocketing the bung and abetting deception. Reekede Direct was contacted for a comment.

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