Amazon TOS: One rule for one, and another for the other?

In this episode we hide the interviewees identity and masked his voice, this is a story of Amazon working against its own TOS.

We also talk how Amazon promotions could be perceived as gamification starting before Prime Day and driven down to the lowest point by Black Friday.

The Back Story

  • Guest operates in multiple categories
  • Reviews manipulation and blackhat techniques are rife in Amazon.
    • There will be 60 and so on reviews for different products merged togethere.
    • Amazon includes all these products and listings of different ASINs  as single variations resulting to the high number of review.
  • These were reported to Amazon but Amazon did not pay attention.
    • Sellers who are reported do not get any penalty for these actions.
  • But these sellers who violate, will just merge them all again after we’ve reported it to Amazon.
  • There are no repercussions.

Amazon Response

  • We’ve brought this up to the senior people to rebuild the page in such a way that it can not be re-merged. We’ve reported the manipulation.
  • They have the ultimate power but they said they can not do anything about it.
    • We asked if we can do the same or they fix it.
  • This manipulation is going on with high volume products.
  • There is no way to edit the title because these products are set up as parent-child listings.
  • The only people who will have control over this would be Amazon retail team.
  • Amazon retail will always win the buy box and they will always have control over the listing.

Reviews Manipulation

  •  When a lot of reviews are lumped up together under one variation, their reviews for bad products get pulled up by the average.
  • Effect: these manipulated listings in Amazon will therefore sell because the products with low reviews move around 300 plus units because of the way they piggy-back on the core products — COMPLETELY NOT RELATED products.


  •  People can pick up on these and you know what conclusion they can come up with.
  • This is still on the table conversation with Amazon about clarities on the guidelines.

Gamification – on another topic

  • There are a few things about Amazon’s pricing tenets.
  • Just after Prime Day, our guest believes that Amazon system makes recommendations which will slowly nudge you to very very low price.
  • Lightning deals are based on the last price in the last 3 months or 30 days (Danny: will verify)
  • By the time you go around October, there will be more deals–your price will be priced lower to get action by CyberMonday


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