Fake Amazon Reviews Are An Opportunity For Affiliate Marketers

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I've been doing more online shopping than usual, and I discovered a new habit I have.

I trust Amazon reviews way less than before.

I'll read them, but with a grain of salt. If I find a product I like with good Amazon reviews, I'll still go read reveiws from bloggers anyway... if the product is expensive enough. If it's a $20 item it doesn't matter much because I can just send it back for a refund, but for bigger items, Amazon is not my "final stop" for research.

Some Amazon reviews are completely fake (Verge article on FTC Lawsuit), but even the ones that are real are often not very helpful.

Why Would People Read My Website?

A common question I get from newbies is that they want to know why anyone would read their website when they could just go to Amazon and search for reviews there.

There are a couple of really good reasons why!

  • Amazon reviews are short
  • Amazon reviews are extremely biased
  • Amazon reviews have no "proof" of accuracy
  • Amazon reviews do not contain images in context
  • Amazon reviews do not contain video
  • Amazon reviews rarely from experts
  • Amazon reviews are a low-quality user experirence

I could dig into each one of those and write a whole blog post, but the main thing to take away is that Amazon reviews are not very engaging for people.

They are small text, no images, no video, disorganized, and you have no idea who wrote them.

How often have you seen a review that says, "1 star. The package arrived damaged!" That's not the fault of the product. It's the fault of the seller or the package shipper.

Design A Great Review

With your WordPress blog, you have the opportunity to create an amazing user experience. You can cover a topic in-depth, with 1000-2000 words for a review.

You can add high quality product images from stock photo websites or creative commons, or you can even take your own photos. You can create small paragraphs with large text that's easy to read even on mobile devices.

You can link to more resources within your article so visitors are fully informed. You can add video to show how a product works. You can compare products with other similar ones to help people find the best product in its category.

Show Off Your Expertise

Who's writing Amazon reviews? Nobody knows. They are just a name. Even "top reviewers" on Amazon are just people who write a lot of reviews of Amazon products. They are not necessarily an expert like you are.

With your affiliate website, you can show off that you are an expert, and you are a trusted source of information on your topic. 1) You'll have a history of creating expert content in your blog roll, or in the menu of your website. 2) You'll have an author bio set up explaning how you're an expert.

If your webiste is about drone photography, and it's called "Mikes Drone Photography", and you have a photo of you controlling a drone + some cool photos you took, when someone lands on your site, they'll immediately think, "Damn, this guy really knows a lot about drone photography".

In Amazon, you're just Mike from Florida who bought a drone and liked it.

On your website, you have an opportunity to add a dimension of depth and substance to your reviews.

    Interact With Visitors, Build Trust

    On your webiste you also have a chance to "come alive". You can talk directly to people. While you won't be able to personally chat with every single visitor and convince them to buy a product, you can answer questions in the comment area.

    This adds to your expertise, but also provides you with a direct line to knowing what potential buyers are asking.

    That's more content ideas for your site, then more authority, and more rankings. Success tends to snowball!

    Just the fact that you are "available" means that people will see you as a real person, and are more likely to trust your content.

    Final Thoughts

    Though I focused on Amazon, these ideas are the same across all vendor websites with customer reviews. There are many reasons someone would read your website even though they can just go to the vendor and buy it there. Play into that!

    Make your webiste an ultimate resource for your topic that would be impossible for the vendor to recreate and you'll always have a position in the customer purchase lifesycle.

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    Recent Comments


    Home run, great post Nathaniell!

    I used to think Amazon Associates would be an ideal site to find and promote products.

    After I read Kyle's post: My perception about Amazon has changed. You don't know who's writing those reviews. Also, there have been complaints from consumers about receiving low quality products.

    The commission rates have decreased. Not good. Amazon only cares about their profit margin and how they're doing on Wall Street.

    I heard the other day about this guy who bought a laptop from Amazon. It exploded in his lap and he wound up in the hospital.

    Kyle says don't put all your eggs into Amazon's basket. There are other affiliate programs out there that have better products. And higher commission rates

    Amazon doesn't care about the people who are working so hard to promote their products.

    I was an Amazon reviewer when they were open to us receiving a product in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately, not everyone was truly honest and so Amazon removed the program.
    I still receive requests from sellers to review their products. And each time I tell them that Amazon no longer allows that, but I would be happy to do a product review on my blog. In the end, that may help them more than an Amazon review, anyway.
    Thanks for the great post, Nathaniel.

    Well said Nathaniell. Though I will sometimes look at those reviews I never ever let them be the deciding factor, unless it is for a cheaply costing item. Like you said, I could always request a refund if it's not what I expected. You certainly do not want to do that with something expensive.

    The funny (well not really) thing is that most of the 1-star reviews are just what you said, about shipping problems. That is a legitimate gripe with Amazon. I often get Amazon packages at my front door that are not even for me. Same street but different number. I feel bad for those expecting their package.

    When I bought my Chromebook, the Amazon reviews were lame. So I researched it online and I even went to the local Best Buy and asked about it there, getting some hands-on experience. Then once I knew which model I wanted I went back on Amazon and bought it. We bloggers definitely have the advantage.

    Hi Nathaniel,
    Reading your posts today as I have time to do it. Very good info you shared. I am in the process of updating my old posts. I don't have that many so I thought would be a great idea while I don't have much. One of my first posts, I used amazon reviews on the product. Now I will not do that anymore. I am so new to online blog. Learned so much from your posts. Thanks very much.

    Hi Nathaniell, do you use a plug in to write reviews and do you think it is more beneficial than a review without using one?
    I tried out a couple but I had many issues with the structured data within them so I took it out. Thanks for sharing your insight on reviews. Jude

    See more comments

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