Exposing Amazon Black Hat Tactics: The Dark World of Fake Negative Reviews

In the fiercely competitive realm of e-commerce, Amazon sellers are perpetually seeking ways to gain a competitive edge. Unfortunately, some sellers resort to unethical means, including the creation of fake negative reviews. In this blog post, we will explore the realm of Amazon black hat tactics, with a specific focus on fake negative reviews, shedding light on the risks they pose to both consumers and honest sellers.

The Surge of Amazon Black Hat Tactics

In an era where online reviews wield tremendous power, it’s no surprise that some sellers employ underhanded tactics to manipulate their reputation. The employment of black hat strategies such as fake negative reviews has been on the rise as a specific strategy Amazon sellers are usting to take out their competition.

Review Sabotage: A Dark Strategy With Mal Intent

Review sabotage is a sinister black hat tactic employed by unscrupulous Amazon sellers to tarnish their competitors’ reputation and sabotage their sales. This tactic involves posting fake negative reviews on a rival seller’s product listings. Here’s a closer look at how this unethical practice unfolds:

The Deceptive Act

  1. Anonymous Attacks: Unethical sellers, often under the veil of anonymity, pose as disgruntled customers or concerned buyers to post fake negative reviews on their competitors’ product pages.

  2. Undermining Competitor Credibility: These negative reviews typically highlight fictitious flaws, exaggerated defects, or fabricated grievances about the product’s performance, quality, or customer service. The goal is to erode the trustworthiness and credibility of the competitor’s listing.

  3. Psychological Manipulation: Review saboteurs craft their fake negative reviews to resonate with potential customers’ concerns, using persuasive language to discourage them from considering the competitor’s product. The aim is to create doubt and apprehension in the minds of shoppers.

Paid Negative Reviews: The Unethical Underbelly

Paying for negative reviews is a black hat tactic employed by some unscrupulous sellers on Amazon. In this scheme, sellers go to great lengths to find individuals and/or services to purchase products and tarnish the reputation of their competitors by deliberately creating false and disparaging feedback. Here’s a closer look at how this unethical practice unfolds:

The Role of Individuals

    1. Hired Reviewers: Unethical sellers may pay individuals to write negative reviews for their competitors’ products. These individuals usually have no prior experience with the product and may not even have purchased or used it.   Many are hired internationally and outside of the marketplace from which they are purchasing from.  They will typically place an order, cancel it, then craft scathing feedback to harm the competitor’s sales and reputation.

    2. Misleading Language: These hired reviewers are often instructed to use specific language or highlight particular flaws in the product, even if those issues do not exist. The goal is to make the negative review appear genuine and credible to potential customers.

    3. Fake User Profiles: To further disguise their malicious intent, sellers may create fake user profiles for these hired reviewers, complete with fictitious names, locations, and profile pictures. This adds a layer of authenticity to the fake negative reviews.

The Role of Review Services

    1. Review Farms: Some unethical sellers turn to review farms or groups of individuals who specialize in crafting negative reviews for a fee. These review farms operate as underground networks, offering their services to manipulate a product’s reputation on Amazon.

    2. Anonymity and Secrecy: Review farms often work discreetly to avoid detection. Sellers hire them through anonymous online channels, making it challenging for Amazon to trace the source of the fake negative reviews.

    3. Review Manipulation: These services may also engage in review manipulation by posting negative feedback in waves, timed strategically to inflict maximum damage on a competitor’s sales during critical periods.

Detecting and Addressing Review Sabotage

Will Amazon Take Action on a Fraudulent Review?

The short answer is NO! Although Amazon employs several strategies to detect and address review sabotage, it is very rare that they remove a review.  As long as a seller can be verified to the purchase, they can leave any type a review they would like.  And, as long as it does not include profanity, or a direct attack on a person or the seller, it’s very difficult to get a review removed.

Can a Seller Take Action on a Fraudulent Review?

Amazon Black Hat Tactics - Report Abuse

If the posted review does actually fall under prohibited review content, Amazon provides sellers with the means to report abuse for fraudulent reviews to help maintain the integrity of its review system. Here are the steps an Amazon seller can take to report such abuse:

  1. Identify the Review: First, locate the specific fraudulent review that you believe is in violation of Amazon’s review policies.

  2. Click “Report Abuse”: Scroll down to the bottom of the review in question. You should see a “Report abuse” button. Click on it to initiate the reporting process.

  3. Select the Violation Type: Amazon will prompt you to choose the type of violation you are reporting. In this case, you would typically select “Inappropriate review” or “Suspected fraudulent review.”

  4. Provide Details: Amazon may ask you to provide specific details about why you believe the review is fraudulent. Be as thorough and accurate as possible in your description. Include any evidence you have, such as information about the reviewer or their behavior.

  5. Submit the Report: After filling out the necessary information, click the “Submit” or “Report” button to submit your report to Amazon.

  6. Follow Up: Amazon will review your report and take appropriate action if they find that the review is indeed fraudulent. Keep an eye on the review in question, and if it violates Amazon’s policies, it should be removed.

It’s important to note that while reporting fraudulent reviews is essential for maintaining the integrity of the platform, it may take some time for Amazon to investigate and take action. In the meantime, focus on providing excellent customer service and delivering high-quality products to build and maintain your reputation on the platform.

The Impact of Negative Review Sabotage

Negative review sabotage can have a devastating impact on competitors’ sales and reputation. They mislead customers by presenting a false image of product quality and may cause genuine sellers to lose sales unfairly. Moreover, this unethical practice undermines the trustworthiness of Amazon’s review system, which relies on the authenticity and honesty of feedback from real customers.

Review sabotage can have devastating consequences for competitors:

  1. Loss of Sales: The influx of fake negative reviews can deter potential customers, leading to a significant drop in sales for the targeted seller. Shoppers are likely to be discouraged by a slew of negative feedback.

  2. Damage to Reputation: The accumulation of fake negative reviews damages a seller’s reputation, even if their product is of high quality. Buyers may hesitate to purchase from a seller whose listing appears plagued with issues.

  3. Frustration and Stress: Honest sellers subjected to review sabotage face immense frustration and stress in dealing with the aftermath, as they work to restore their listing’s reputation.


Review sabotage is a reprehensible tactic that not only harms competitors but also undermines the trust consumers place in Amazon’s review system. As conscientious consumers and sellers, it is crucial to report these types of reviews to Amazon when identified. By actively discouraging and reporting review sabotage, we contribute to a fairer, more trustworthy online shopping environment for everyone on Amazon.


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