Manipulating reviews (or not?)

I’m aware this is my first post in a while.  I decided to take a break over Christmas, to spend time with my family without the pressure of ‘work’ hanging over me.  I’m sure real bloggers don’t do this, but I’m not a real blogger, so figured it was ok.

I actually *tried* to do nothing at all for a week (work-wise), which I really needed after a busy and stressful few months.

Manipulating reviews

I say tried, because, I unwittingly caused trouble for myself yet again.  This time with Amazon.

I had noticed that some of my reviews (from genuine customers) had been taken down by Amazon, so I contacted them to ask about it.  I then received a notification that I was in breach of their policy, as I ‘may have manipulated reviews’, they would review this and I may have my account suspended.  Obviously this scared the cr*p out of me.

I decided it was unjust though and sent an email explaining all I have done so far to obtain sales and reviews and asked if they could please let me know exactly what I had done wrong, so I could avoid doing it in future.  

We all know that people don’t (or rarely) buy products on Amazon without reviews, so they are crucial.  And yes, for that reason, anywhere I have cheekily suggested someone buy a product I have also asked that they be kind enough to review it.

I think another reason they were concerned might be that some of the people who’ve bought the product know me (or know me indirectly), but I think that’s because my main advertising at the moment is Facebook, or word of mouth. Hopefully, once I get more sales and more reviews I’ll rank higher on Amazon searches and reach more (different) people.

How it all turned out

So anyway, after a sleepless night (with an ill baby, on top of all this to worry about) Amazon called me about 5 times while I was on the M25.  I don’t answer calls while driving, so called back when I got home and was told another team was dealing with it and would call me back.

Someone then called today to check I was happy with the outcome.  I asked the outcome of what and was told they’d emailed me.  I explained I have two children to look after and don’t always check emails so could she read it out. I wish I hadn’t.  It was loooooooong.

The jist of it was that I am a valued customer and there are other ways to get sales such as having a good listing, relevant keywords and product details.  The keywords information was actually really useful, as I hadn’t realised these were words in addition to the terms in your product listing. (i.e. I have added ‘baby shower’ as one of mine, after reading their suggestions.)
So anyway, after all that, I’m not sure if I have been manipulating reviews (unintentionally) or not.  I also don’t know if the reviews which were removed will be coming back.  I’ve opened a case to request this, but not sure if that’s just opening another can of worms…  Time will tell!