I have been helping out other Amazon reviewers over the past few years, and have heard (and read) the grumblings of the downvoting game being played, possibly by other high ranking reviewers. As of the past few months, it has seemed to have gone into overdrive.
Are top reviewers downvoting others’ reviews?
I have a reviewer in the UK that has getting pummeled by downvotes on his reviews, especially ones that are reviews for products that he was sent in exchange for a review. His assumption is other top reviewers down voting him to give them an edge.
I too have found that once I broke the 2,000 mark in the rankings that my reviews-in-exchange suddenly have more downvotes than positive. And almost always within a week of posting, then after that no more downvotes. Reviews that are organic (from items I bought) are almost never down-voted, and certainly not 100% down-voted like the others.
“Dear Rival Reviewers…”
The reviewer in the UK told me a couple disturbing things just now: one is that a reviewer has felt the need to resort to starting reviews with the following:
“TO THE RIVAL REVIEWERS WHO KEEP VOTING ME DOWN Please stop strategically giving my reviews unhelpful votes just so that you can get ahead. You’re creating an environment where those of us who want to play nicely, feel obliged to take part in this unsportsmanlike nonsense just to stay afloat.” Source
You can buy downvotes for $5?!
Even crazier, he also mentioned that you can buy Amazon up/down votes in bulk on Fiverr, as seen here.
What this means is that someone (another reviewer or even a rival company) can buy up or down votes through Fiverr to artificially inflate or deflate the value of the reviews. Why would someone do this?
- a rival ‘top reviewer’ might do this to keep other reviewers from upward movement in the rankings by making their reviews get more downvotes than upvotes
- an up-and-comer reviewer might do this to bring down the top reviewers making it easier to move up in the rankings
- a rival company might do this to make the reviews for the products look shady or untrustworthy
What can we do about this?
First, we as honest reviewers can just not play the game. It is NOT okay to pay someone to downvote reviews for any reason.
Second, we can start to have more conversations about this. Getting it out into the open will hopefully put pressure on this type of behavior to stop. When real Amazon customers start talking about it, maybe then Amazon will start to listen and take action on it. (Word is they already monitor IP addresses to combat this kind of behavior, but Fiverr people just rotate through hundreds of fake accounts and IPs for each downvote.)
I think the biggest thing we can do is to start putting pressure on the companies sourcing and tracking reviews for companies. Many of you have signed up for and work with companies that email you a list of products to review. They work for the sellers on Amazon and they also have access to hundreds, if not thousands of reviewers—many of them top reviewers. If we can bring it to their attention and ask them to reach out to their reviewers and state that this kind of practice is no longer being played in the dark and not condoned, I think we could put a dent in this kind of game.
The real solution would be for Amazon to drop the up-/downvoting altogether since it lends little credence these days with the rise of parody reviews and the fact that one can buy 60 upvotes for only $5.
What do you think?
What do you think about this practice of downvoting? Got any ideas on how we can combat it? Post your comments below to get the conversation started. Thanks!