There’s never a dull moment when it comes to Amazon and Amazon sellers. This time, it’s all about the Federal Trade Commission. For the very first time in their history, they are cracking down on Amazon review hacking.

The FTC has taken action against a supplement marketer known as The Bountiful Company for abusing Amazon’s features to deceive customers. They have fined them a whopping $600,000.

“If you play fast and loose with the rules, you must know now that the FTC is looking to clean up reviews for ecommerce platforms in the United States, so don’t do it.”

Jason Boyce

To unpack what this means for Amazon sellers, I am joined by Shannon Roddy.


The Case Against The Bountiful Company by FTC

The FTC has accused Bountiful of using review hijacking, a tactic they claim is deceptive, to merge its newly introduced supplements on Amazon with well-established products that had more product ratings, reviews, and badges to create an impression of higher product ratings and reviews, as well as “Amazon’s Choice” and “Best Seller” badges.

Bountiful took advantage of Amazon’s feature that allows vendors to create variation relationships between similar products that differ only in narrow, specific ways such as color, size, quantity, or flavor. They used this loophole to create numerous variation relationships for their new supplement products with different formulations.

“If the intent is to launch a new product by hijacking or borrowing the reviews of the existing ASIN, there’s malicious intent to deceive or to manipulate the algorithm.” Shannon Roddy

Legitimate and Illegitimate Variations of Amazon Listings

Products with a variation relationship share the same product detail page on and appear as alternative choices, so shoppers can compare and choose among similar products.

The tricky thing about this decision from FTC for Amazon sellers is that some things that we never thought were illegal are now deemed illegal by the commission. Some of these aren’t even against Amazon’s TOS.

But according to the FTC, this practice has no place in the ecommerce space. It’s a misrepresentation whose only purpose is malicious intent to deceive customers through false claims.

Tune in to this episode as Shannon and I dive deep to uncover what this means for Amazon sellers and how to protect yourself.

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