The Tiny War — Amazon Search

To the top or bust baby!

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“OH NO!” You shout while grabbing your phone, barely keeping it from sailing to the floor.

“Anya’s birthday is Friday and I don’t have a gift!”

As you open the Amazon app, the war begins.

The entire fight will last less than 3–5 seconds. During which, you will tap here, tap there and likely never think twice about whose products you end up selecting.

Meanwhile, thousands of companies will duke it out for pole position. Spending buckets of money to lure your thumbs to their products. (During the holidays it will be swimming pools of money)

If you’re like most people, you’ll do it like this:

  1. Type thing you’re looking for.
  2. Filter for Prime… because who wants to pay shipping?
  3. Pick one of the first 3 results, likely the photo you like the best with decent reviews. Price may or may not weight in.
  4. Scroll down to the negative reviews and figure out if it affects your decision.
  5. Buy

Why they fight

The first 3 positions on Amazon search may yield 10X the revenue of the next 30 positions.

This makes the game very high stakes.

To this end, companies will try anything to be first.

Here are a few things they do. Some of which are unsavory.

  1. Buy reviews or give away products to get reviews. ** Illegal or against the rules. (ever bought something with high reviews and thought “this thing sucks, what were they thinking?”)
  2. Pay money for search ads.
  3. Hire consultants to optimize their listings for the keywords you are looking for.
  4. Send all their products to Amazon’s warehouses to ensure they show up “Prime”.

The most concerning one is #1. Up until a few days ago, it was perfectly fine with Amazon if you sent people your products for free or a discount for their “honest” review. The only problem was nobody was “honest” and most of the “honest” reviews were positive. Thus the Amazon review was cheapened and the experience suffered, so Amazon had to do something, which it did.

The more nefarious practice of illegally buying reviews has Amazon sending out lawsuits, cease and desist orders, and hiring hit men to try and stop the flood of bullshit reviews hitting the site. To what degree it’s working, nobody knows.


Now What?

Leave a review!

Since review trading has been killed, the only avenue sellers have to get their products reviewed is the old fashion way.

Companies advertise -> sell (hopefully) -> ask for feedback -> get 1% to actually leave it -> repeat.

How can you help?

Take a minute to leave a review on Amazon or any other retailer where you buy something.

You don’t have the time, nobody has the time.

But think of it like this. The reviews are a service to your fellow man (or woman). If you don’t tell someone the thing starts to wear out after 2 weeks, who is going to know?

The reviews are the first thing we all look at, and it’s the last thing any of us want to do.

So pay it forward bro (sista). And let’s all ensure we don’t buy crappy stuff on Amazon.