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Theo & Kate

More blatant review fraud: “Global Reviews” and why we can’t analyze them

September 25th, 2020

Amazon has been testing a new feature where they display “Global” product reviews.  This means if you’re looking at a product on Amazon.com (US), you might see reviews from Amazon.fr (France), Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), Amazon.ca (Canada) and so on.

Previously, all these international sites have been independent of one another.  Amazon.com would only display reviews from Amazon.com.  The international Amazon sites are (and continue to be) totally separate review platforms. If I have an account on Amazon.com, I CANNOT use it to log into Amazon.fr.  Or Amazon.ca.  I need to create an entirely new account on each different Amazon site.

ReviewMeta.com continues to analyze products on all Amazon platforms.  In order to analyze reviews from a different country, you’ll have to go to that international Amazon site, find the product listing and plug it into ReviewMeta.com.  (Amazon.com/dp/PRODUCT_ID vs Amazon.fr/dp/PRODUCT_ID).

Sadly, the ASINs aren’t always a 1-to-1 match on the different Amazon sites.  Sometimes it’s very challenging to find out the source of these “global reviews” since Amazon is not committed to transparency.

An Example to Illustrate our Point

One of our visitors recently sent us this example product, frustrated that ReviewMeta.com only found one review even though there are “thousands”.  Here’s a link to the product: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08DY1TM6K (Keep in mind the fraudulent reviews for this product will likely be removed in the future, so it could look different).

First off, the ReviewMeta.com report does, in fact, show only “1 Review”:

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 11.28.21 AM

Let’s take a look at the listing on Amazon:

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 11.27.31 AM

Amazon shows, 3,333 “Ratings”, what looks like a perfect 5 stars and also the “#1 Best Seller” badge.  You may be thinking: “This must be an excellent, well-reviewed product!”, but let’s keep exploring the listing.

Here’s where it gets shady:

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 11.34.56 AM

So we are, in fact, seeing only ONE review from the US.  We do see plenty more “reviews from other countries”, but there’s something going on here.  This review is definitely NOT for the product we’re looking at.  It’s for a cane.  We’re looking at a digital pH meter.  Let’s click on “See all reviews” and continue exploring…

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 11.41.21 AM

Here we can see all 1,538 “Reviews from other countries”, but we’re left with more questions than answers.  None of these reviews are for a Digital pH Meter.  None of these reviews contain a single link – not to the reviewer’s profile, not to the individual review itself, not to the product on Amazon.co.uk that was being reviewed.  The consumer has absolutely no way of knowing where these reviews are coming from.

Amazon’s decision to display “Global reviews” on their listings shows that they are doubling down on their effort boost the number of ratings at the expense of transparency, and gives sellers an additional opportunity to deceive consumers by Hijacking Reviews for completely unrelated products.