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The Amazon Cheating Diaries: A Weekly Check in On China 3rd Party Toner Cheaters on Amazon.
Attention OEM’s who do business with Amazon (and have the requisite contacts with Amazon), and anyone else in the toner industry. Please encourage Amazon to take action against the “Bad Actors” from China in the 3rd party toner cartridge category on their platform.
This is your weekly update:
If you read last weeks entry, you will remember the Amazon seller golden rule “Reviews = Sales” meaning the more reviews an item has the better for sales. The incentive for sellers to accumulate a lot of good reviews is high and hence Amazon has established a lot of rules against review manipulation. Sellers who get caught violating the rules surrounding review manipulation get their selling privileges revoked. Last week we looked at an easy way to spot a cheater, compare the review quantity of a toner to the equivalent OEM review quantity. OEM’s sell at minimum 3x the units as the best selling 3rd parties (often times much more than that) and therefore the 3rd party toners should have at most 1/3 of the reviews as the OEM’s. When the 3rd party toner review quantity is significantly greater than 1/3 of the equivalent OEM’s review quantity, you have caught yourself a cheater (a seller who has violated Amazon seller policy against review manipulation and therefore should have their Amazon seller privileges revoked.)
Another really bright RED flag is to look at how fast an item can accumulate reviews. For the HP 410A toner, I compared sales and reviews totals Year-to-Date of the OEM HP 410A brand sold by Amazon and the best selling 3rd party 410A compatibles (See below chart). I assume the OEM brands sold by Amazon are not participating in any form of review manipulation and they are used as a baseline to compare against the 3rd parties. It took the OEM’s on average 112 sales to get 1 review. The top selling 3rd parties it took an average of 23 sales to get 1 review. 112 to 23 sales to get 1 review. There is no possible world were these 3rd party toner sellers are able to achieve this kind of review rate without some form of review manipulation. This is a 500% increase in review rate compared to the baseline (OEM’s). Another thing to notice, is it just not 1 or 2 brands who are cheating, it is all top selling brands. This category is so saturated by bad actors that any “good” actor can’t compete. Any 3rd party toner top selling ASIN is by rule cheating. It is impossible for any ASIN to become a top seller without some form of sales/review manipulation, there is just way too many cheaters for an honest seller to have any chance to compete.***
*** In actual fact, there are not that many “Bad Actors” in the 3rd party toner category. The actual number of “Bad Actors” is really only 7 or 8, it is just that these 7 or 8 Bad Actors have used a series of “shell” companies to open up multiple seller accounts and operate multiple different brands on Amazon (these are majory poicily violations in and of themselves). That means that the top selling 40-50 toner brands on Amazon are really operated and controlled by just 7 or 8 enterprises. The good news is, that it really isn’t too hard to untangle the web of deception and figure out who is who and who controls what brands (more to come on this in future weekly entries)
ASIN Brand Sold By Sales YTD (Estimated) Reviews YTD Sales it takes to get 1 review Reviews per 100 sales B07QMBHSGM HP Amazon 6,750 52 130 0.77 B01NB0P9K5 HP Amazon 9,500 93 102 0.98 Average YTD 8,125 73 112 0.89 B07KY5NZ1G TRUE IMAGE FBA 6,000 224 27 3.73 B07H8TSRH8 Cool Toner FBA 4,250 213 20 5.01 B07BS9MMB5 GPC Image FBA 4,000 217 18 5.43 B0751917CF J-C Toner FBA 2,700 79 34 2.93 B07S5XHVPD JARBO FBA 2,025 90 23 4.44 Average YTD 3,795 165 23 4.34
There is an interesting article that does a great job describing Amazon conflicting position on review manipulation. The “has an incentive to allow this behavior” vs. the “Even one inauthentic review is one too many” (see below https://thehustle.co/amazon-fake-reviews).
Author2020-05-19 at 11:06:33 am
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