Buying on Amazon is increasingly an exercise in trust. While the company has taken steps to mitigate the spread ofsponsored product reviews and fake ratings, illegitimate sellers are still finding ways to scam consumers. The latest trick? Gaming Amazon’s popularity ranking system and taking over the “Best Seller” tag — arguably a pretty important marker when it comes to buying something with which you may be unfamiliar.
Peter Koch, professional Amazon reseller, described the method by which hackers and untrustworthy product sellers could game Amazon’s ranking system, boosting products with little to no reviews to the top of certain popular search categories.
Amazon’s algorithm measures not only what’s purchased, but what is viewed by users. Shady sellers hire contract workers who boost the rankings of particular products by searching for them. Searches, time spent on a product page (known as engagement) and adding products to wish lists all help boost a product’s ranking, whether or not it has actually been purchased.
Sellers will also slightly miscategorise products to avoid competition, though it’s harder to be found when you’re in the wrong section.
To eliminate competition, sellers will file false copyright claims with Amazon, knocking their competitor’s products off the market until the issue is resolved, and filing complaints to further dismantle the reputation of a seller with a legitimate product.
All this adds up to some products receiving a “Best Seller” tag that clearly are not the cream of the crop. As a rule, you should always double-check the brand name of your product, and who is handling the selling and shipping. You’re more likely to be purchasing a legitimate “Best Seller” when purchasing products shipped and sold by Amazon.
Your next best bet is a product sold by a third-party seller with the shipment order fulfilled by Amazon. It also pays to be sceptical of reviews, which don’t always equal a quality product, and use review analytics services like Fakespot to determine their legitimacy.
Extremely Unethical Tricks Amazon Sellers Are Using To Rank Fast [Seller At Heart]