One of the biggest struggles you face when launching a new product on Amazon is getting those precious first few reviews.
We all know their importance, so it’s not surprising some sellers employ tactics that are against Amazon’s terms of service. These are called Black Hat tactics and come with a certain amount of risk… so proceed with caution!
So, the good-boy-and-girl ways to get product reviews are called White Hat methods, which are easy enough to find out. But, today we’re going to indulge our dark side and look at 5 Black Hat ways to get Amazon reviews.
Firstly, what you definitely cannot do – You can never incentivise a request for a review. This means you can never offer money, discount or free stuff in exchange for a favourable review, this is a huge no-no so, don’t even try it!
Back to black (hat). I’ve listed these in order of riskiness and I must point out that I’m not recommending any to you. Any one of these could potentially get you banned from Amazon if you get found out.
- Asking friends to buy your product and leave a review – LOW RISK
Like every black hat tactic, this is against Amazon’s terms of service but it’s the one with the least risk – especially in Australia.
Getting your first five reviews this way is easy to do and get’s the review ball rolling. But a few caveats…
In Australia, they seem pretty laissez-faire about this and I’m yet to hear of any repercussions. The USA market, on the contrary, is much stricter, so if you sell in the US, it might be best you avoid this one.
Also, avoid getting reviews from people in your house. Having the same address or credit card as your reviewer may arouse suspicion, so stick to friends, family and work colleagues who don’t live within the same four walls.
- Use review groups – LOW TO MEDIUM RISK
Facebook is one place where you can find heaps of Amazon review groups and the premise is simple. You post details of your product and if a member is interested in it, they’ll PM you and you can sort some kind of agreement out and they’ll go ahead and review your product.
It’s riskier than option one because there are plenty of arguments to be had about Amazon buying Facebook data. But if you’re not trading in the USA and if it’s just for a few reviews (5 or so), then you probably won’t get into trouble from using this black hat method.
- Use an email append service – MEDIUM RISK
Now we’re swimming in more dangerous waters.
As Amazon has aggressively stopped FBA sellers from accessing our customers’ data – phone numbers, email addresses etc. – email append services help us get access to this information with just their name or other basic data.
On average, email append services such as datazapp (USA) give you the crucial email addresses for around 40-50% of the people you upload. Of course, you then send your customers lovely emails asking them for a review.
This is riskier than the above two options because of Amazon’s crackdown on sharing personal data. If they found out you’re what you’re doing, expect repercussions.
For this reason, I don’t recommend anyone in Australia using this method. For Oz, the above first two are lower risk and more than effective for your first handful of reviews.
- Use zombie accounts – HIGH RISK
Think carefully before trying this one!
A zombie account is essentially a fake account created with the sole purpose of buying your product and leaving a 5-star review. There are companies that own thousands of these accounts who will do the deed for you at a cost.
As well as being labour intensive (if managing the accounts yourself), it’s hugely risky. If you get caught by Amazon doing the first three on this list, you’ll probably get your account suspended. If you get caught using zombie accounts, you’re likely to be shut down.
- Use LinkedIn to contact employees of Amazon and ask them to remove negative reviews – VERY HIGH RISK
I have NEVER done this but I know that it goes on. Sellers track down employees of Amazon through LinkedIn and offer them bribes to remove negative reviews.
I don’t need to tell you just how high risk this is. Best case scenario, you find a disgruntled employee or one with poor ethics who’ll do the dirty deed as per the agreement. Worst case, you’ll pick anyone else in the company who’ll get your account shut down faster than you can say, “Only joking!”
Best not to do this one…
So, that’s 5 black hat ways to get positive reviews – or get yourself banned from Amazon. I know many sellers here in Australia who’ve used the first two to great success, but be very, very wary of the others.
Hope you’ve got something from this article. Good luck out there guys and gals!