For many marketers, creating made up reviews of the products you are promoting is a very effective way to get the attention of potential customers. There have been many studies done over the years that show that people are much more likely to buy a product after they read a positive review from what they believe to be actual customers, so this method of marketing makes a lot of sense.
The problem, however, is that it is also illegal in many cases. In addition, you may end up facing a lawsuit from Amazon.com. In fact, Amazon has recently filed suit against several companies that write and publish fake reviews. They filed the lawsuit in the King County Superior Court, which is in Seattle, against BuyAzonReviews.com as well as BuyAmazonreviews.com, BayReviews.net and BuyReviewsnow.com.
Amazon claims in their lawsuit that, “Defenders are misleading Amazon’s customers and tarnishing Amazon’s brand for their own profit and the profit of a handful of dishonest sellers and manufacturers. Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and disrupting the marketplace in which they participate.”
The majority of reviews produced by the defendants are used to make ‘Amazon Affiliate’ sites where the owners of the sites promote specific products sold by Amazon. Whenever a sale is made through their link, of course, they get a cut of the profits. This can be a very profitable way to make money if you can get a steady stream of traffic to your site. Converting that traffic to sales is made much simpler with high quality reviews that cause the visitor to believe that actual people bought, and recommend the product.
Legally Using Reviews
It is important to point out that there are legal (and ethical) ways to use reviews to promote products. In the event that you have actually purchased or used a product, you can write up your own experiences. It is also permissible to write a review of a product based on what other actual reviewers have said.
This is a type of aggregated review. The important thing about this type of review is that you have to make it clear in the review itself that you are writing about the actual opinions of other people, and not based on your own individual experience. These types of reviews can still be extremely effective when done properly.
As affiliate marketers, reviews are always a powerful tool. This lawsuit from Amazon shows, however, that it is very important to make sure you are in line with all the laws and regulations involved. While the defendants in this case are larger companies, Amazon may very well begin revoking the affiliate status of those who are using fake reviews in the future. It is much smarter to use an approved marketing method that will still produce results, but without the risk of a lawsuit or even a ban from Amazon or other Affiliate networks.