Some endorsed and recommended products were found to be fake or even unsafe.
Wall Street Journal published an investigation revealing that Amazon’s Choice badge attached to products raised safety concerns such as false advertisings. The article claimed that there are products that are endorsed that do not appear as listed and some are even manipulated by the sellers.
The Journal recommended that customers double-check the “endorsed” product is in fact a genuine article. The mishap has been more prominent due to Amazon’s speedy delivery push and has been a hassle for last-minute shoppers.
The “Amazon’s Choice” badge was created in 2015 alongside the Amazon Alexa. The badge enables fast and efficient shopping for customers who inquire about products from Alexa. The smart speaker can then add the top Amazon’s choice result to the shopping cart.
Qualifications for the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ badge
Ideally, the products should meet various requirements to achieve the badge. Specifically, the qualifications that retailers need to meet are as follows:
- Able to ship through Amazon Prime
- Low return rates
- High customer ratings
- Has frequently bought by buyers who searched for the same product
The badge can’t be used in static ads as the badge process changes its algorithm every time. Its usage is also prohibited in Amazon’s Choice, Amazon Best Seller, and Amazon ranking as its refreshes frequently in different duration of campaigns.
How did it happen?
The Journal reported that the badge appears in Amazon’s Amazon Basic products. This section of the platform has been manipulated by sellers by promoting specific keywords in the product description such as including the brand’s name. The acquisition that some endorsed products have been found to be fake is now under investigation.
Examples of illegitimate Amazon’s Choice products named in the investigations include cellphone chargers that claimed to be manufactured by Apple but is a different brand and a fat burner energy supplement that is against Amazon’s advertising policies.
Amazon’s counter attack
“We know that customer trust is hard to earn and easy to lose, so we strive to protect customer trust in products Amazon’s Choice highlights. We don’t tolerate Amazon policy violations, such as review abuse, incentivized reviews, counterfeits or unsafe products,” says the Amazon spokesperson during the investigation.
Amazon decided to proactively incorporate additional factors to consider to badge a product. This is to protect customers from policy violations and being a victim of fraud. Removal of the badge from the product who doesn’t meet the qualifications will also be implemented. The company also suggested looking for the “Best Seller” stamps on a product when shopping as it rounds up products customers have bought and rated.