In recent times it has become clear that comments and opinions are becoming more and more important. Consumers are guided by what others say and take into account the opinions that other consumers have about products, services and brands. These opinions are decisive in their purchasing decisions and have therefore become one of the pillars of companies’ online strategy. Companies try to get their consumers to leave opinions and valuations of the things they buy and consume, but they also try to generate conversations in any way.
And in this last point a new line of business and a new content creation strategy have appeared. Companies no longer only try to make their customers leave comments, but they are already paying for them to be created.
The business of on-demand commentators has been growing and growing in recent years. Throughout that time it has also been refined. At the beginning, it was only necessary to pay someone to generate opinions. Now, as the different ecommerce sites have refined what they consider to be different comments or not, they have had to become much more sophisticated and have begun to create more complicated structures, in which professional commentators try to look like normal buyers.
Of course, these opinions and these comments are not exactly fair and objective. If one pays for their products to be reviewed by commentators, it does so with certain objectives in mind. This has made the online store’s vision of these practices very negative.
Amazon is being the outpost to pursue and sink the false or questionable comment. Amazon has denounced fraud to false commentators, has sued websites and has been changing the rules of their service. This did not make the business of false comments disappear. One estimate suggested that 9.1% of the comments were false. The business of false commentators (one of the many that has created the so-called ‘gig economy’) already reaches not a few people.
A banned increasingly massive
Amazon has been closing many accounts to deactivate it: As many as 5,700, according to the tracking data on Amazon profiles. As pointed out in Business Insider, based on data from Reddit’s r / TheGreatAmazonPurge and which follows the list of the top 10,000 Amazon reviewers using a bot, since 2016 the company has eliminated 5,700 profiles from that top of commentators.
As explained from Amazon to the US media, the company takes action against “reviewers and bad agents” when they violate the use of the platform “regardless of their status as reviewer top.”
The graph also shows an acceleration. Until more or less the end of 2017, deactivations maintained a more or less low number. From there they took off and very high figures were accumulated. In recent months, Amazon has been much more active in the process of banning reviewers’ accounts. In parallel, this has been the period in which not only the banned profiles have been more visible, but also when it has become more evident via news and reports how the systems of false commentators and false opinions work.
The process of banning is done by hand, which makes us wonder if Amazon has not devoted more resources in recent times.
The importance of opinions
Given that opinions are a key element in purchasing decisions and given that more and more consumers use them to make purchasing decisions, online stores – and especially those with very high market shares, such as Amazon – want to keep them as a ‘real’ environment, one in which they say things that will really be useful to their consumers.