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Apr 23, 2019

Craig is on the Jim Polito Show. Today they discussed the phony 5-star reviews in Amazon. 

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5-Star Phonies: Inside The Fake Amazon Review Complex



Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

Airing date: 04/23/2019

Inside The World Of Fake Amazon Reviews

Craig Peterson 0:00
Hey, good morning, everybody. Craig Peterson here. This morning, we talked about five star phonies I went into in some depth here as to how does Amazon actually work? How are these Chinese companies selling products to us? And the problem that's arisen of many of them apparently getting five star reviews posted for products that are just junk. So how can you trust it? What can you do? Well, actually, we did get to that. Yes, indeed, with Jim Polito this morning. So here we go.

Jim Polito 0:39
This is a much anticipated visit from our tech talk guru Craig Peterson, talking about something that I myself and many others rely on.You buying a product on Amazon, you look at the stars, you say why full five stars? I gotta read these reviews. Is it really that good? Well, are the reviews really true. Joining us now. Our friend Craig Peterson. Good morning, sir.

Craig 1:08
Hey, good morning, you know, if you do check those product reviews before you make a purchase, you're about equal on footing with about 82% of American adults.

Jim 1:19
Yeah, the guys, we had it, we had a chat, we had a chat about it. And we all have our own method of checking their reviews, if we're buying something that we've never bought before, like I, not if I'm buying like detergent, or, you know, something like that, if I'm buying a product I haven't bought before I've done my research. And then you know, I say well this one looks good. I read Yeah, we all have different ways of reading the reviews. But the question is, can I believe them?

Craig 1:45
Yeah, and that's a really, really good question. Because if life has changed. Everything that's changed, you know, used to be, you could trust the name brand, because you knew they didn't want to mess up all of the money they've spent on advertising. And, you know, the name brand was in it frankly, and you know, you talked about Coke, for instance, and buying all of these other things. Coke has a name brand they're trying to protect. But when you're buying on Amazon, and the seller is someone in China, or maybe someone here in the US or somewhere else in the world, there's no brand name that you can trust. Right? There's, there's nothing that you know, so yes, we do look at those stars. And there's a really good article I put up on my website, and it's from The Hustle. And it's talking about what's been happening more recently on Amazon Now, we know Amazon trying to get the prices of everything down as low as t it can so they can pass some of those savings on to consumers and, and really kind of put its competitors out of business. Even Walmart's having a hard time trying to compete with Amazon out there. So one of the things, here's how it used to work, and it's still kind of works this way, I have a couple of buddies that do this. They go online, let's say they go to Alibaba, which is a kind of, you know, big place almost like eBay for businesses over in China. They they do analysis of Amazon, what's selling, what are people looking for, and then they go to Alibaba, they find a vendor that has a good price, and hopefully a decent quality, they order a bunch of them, they check them out, and then they ship them off to Amazon. So this is how this whole thing works. Amazon has them now in their warehouses, and Amazon charges the seller, just to have the product shipped and sitting there ready to ship out. Okay. And then of course, Amazon charges when it's sold. And you know, there's money exchanging hands all of the time. And that's what's been happening for quite some time. Well, what's been happening more recently is some of these Chinese companies are sitting there saying, why are we like having a middleman in the middle of all of this. And so these people here in the states that have been kind of, you know, buying and then reselling on Amazon, they have been bypassed now, in many, many cases. So you have these Chinese companies that are just going ahead, and shipping directly to Amazon here in the US to the warehouses, and so now those Chinese companies are paying the warehouse fees are paying the Commission's, but now there's no longer the markup of that middleman, who was based in the US whose throat, you could choke if you had to, and who's verifying things? Okay. So all of this has really changed over the last two to three years in a big way. And leads us directly to the five stars you're just asking about.

Jim 4:44
And so how do I look, look? And then this isn't, this isn't doesn't have anything to do with the ethnicity of Chinese people, but you can't trust China, when it comes to a lot of this stuff. They don't.

Craig 5:00
Yeah. You're absolutely right.

Jim 5:02
I mean, think about what's been done with dog food, lead paint, all of these things that came out of China that we really can't trust them for in terms of manufacturing and businesses. So the five stars by cutting out the middleman, that five star to just be bunked.

Craig 5:21
Yeah, it could be. And in fact, that's what's been happening here. This is a little bit of an in depth research that was done. And again, you can see the articles and all the details. They've got statistics and everything else about what's been happening out there. But he's talking about one of the highest ranked iPhone chargers, and it had an almost 4000 5 star reviews, and Amazon's Choice Label on it you saying in the article, and and he goes on to do a little bit more investigation because he was able to hop into this private Facebook group and talk with us Amazon seller named Lian Xi from I'm just guessing the pronunciations here, but what is joins out China? And she said, hey, listen, if you buy something, if you buy my product, which was an iPhone charger cable, charger, if you buy my my cable, I will reimburse you for the purchase and give you a $10 commission, if you go ahead and give me a five star rating on Amazon. Now, this is this has been a problem for a while. We have these influencers looking at Kim Kardashian and others who are online, who are pouting products who are saying we are the ones to you know, to believe. And I'm wearing this mascara because it stays on all day without ruining, right? And is this an ad? Is this not an ad? Is this a paid compensation? Where does the line start and stop? And that's what the Federal Trade Commission's been trying to figure out. And now, on top of it, we apparently have these Chinese resellers who are paying people to to do this. And, man, this has been a big deal for a long time. Okay. And, and the products break almost immediately. And yet it has 4000 5 star reviews. So what are you supposed to do?

Jim 7:25
And you know, you used a good example, like a cord, an iPhone charging cord, like an aftermarket one, not one of theirs. We know if you get a cheap one, it busts in no time at all. It doesn't work. And if I see a great price, and a five star rating on Amazon, I'm going to be inclined to buy that.

Craig 7:46
Yeah, but read these things. I guess some of these are amazing. Here's another example. This is from this bodybuilding enthusiast guy named Tommy Noonan. And he's looking at these testosterone boosters on Amazon, and you noticed that a product had 580 reviews, and every single one was five stars. And then he decided he read them. And this has always been the giveaway for me. And we've talked a little bit about this before, you know the languaging that's used. And it's like the morning did the democrats and out their talking points. And every single one of them is saying the exact same thing. So that's number one. And number two is people were reading things like I haven't tried this product, but and then they leave a glowing review. So I went on Amazon and I searched actually I just went to Google and search Amazon. And I found tons of reviews just like this. I never use this product but.

Jim 8:44
So what you do is, yeah, and I've done that to see, I've done it before, to see if someone has lifted what they've written from somebody else. And I just cut and paste and drop it in Google and you see it comes up somewhere else. So you say you cut and paste that review, put it in there, and it pops up in a million different locations. Identical wording.

Craig 9:09
Yeah, exactly. And it's, it's easy enough just to look and see even within one product, or most of these almost exactly the same wording. And now it's gotten even easier, Amazon has something else called Mechanical Turk. And Mechanical Turk is designed, it's fantastic for businesses, if you have something that needs to be done by someone. And it's a very repetitive task. And maybe you want to pay a cent or five cents to find me a picture of a kitty cat with this or that. That's what Mechanical Turk is all about. And with Mechanical Turk, you can even though this is against the policies, okay? But you can even have people post things, find things put things up. So all of this huge, beautiful infrastructure that's out there on the internet is being misused, and they're able to help thousands of people. You can have immediately, I could have 5000 followers for your Facebook page tomorrow, if you're willing to pay 100 bucks. And the same thing's true with Amazon reviews now I'm afraid.

Jim 10:12
Well Craig, this has been great information very helpful to people, because so many of us who are shopping there. Now, folks, this information more in depth plus other information, plus when there's a big hack. You want to be on Craig's list, you want to be one of the people who's able to get a text from him and get this information. So here's what you do. You text my name, Jim to this number.

Craig 10:46
855-385-5553. That's 855-385-5553.

Jim 10:56
Standard data and text rates apply. And he will not bother you. He will not sell your name to somebody else. Craig, always a pleasure. But especially today, this was great information.

Craig 11:09
Hey, thanks, Jim. Take care.

Jim 11:11
Take care. All right, when we return a final word.

Craig 11:15
I guess the bottom line here is things aren't always as they appear to be. I do spend some time with the reviews myself. And obviously I think everybody should nowadays. And what I didn't mention with Jim is that Amazon has a lot they could do in order to stop this from happening. But is it really in their best interest? I think ultimately it is. And they have been cracking down a little bit but I think there's still a lot more Amazon could do to become a trusted place to buy online. All right, Take care everybody. Have a great day. We'll be back tomorrow. Bye bye. 


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