Color me a little paranoid about the online world in the 21st century. Look, if everyone is out to get you, paranoia seems like the correct attitude to have, right? Here’s an example and it has to do with a comparison between Apple and Amazon.
Which do you trust? Even Amazon reviews are no longer trustworthy. It seems as if every product has four to four-and-a-half stars. That cannot happen in the real world. What else?
Trust is hard to come by online these days, so you can understand why a retailer would jump through hoops to create a good brand. Amazon has a good brand. Amazon’s customers service, buy many accounts, is superb. So what’s this problem with trust? Here’s an example.
Bill Pollock, the founder of the tech how-to book publisher No Starch Press, called out Amazon on February 13 for selling what he says are counterfeit copies of his company’s book, The Art of Assembly Language—copies that Amazon apparently printed.
This is not the first time, either. Two years ago:
Pollock got reports of Amazon selling counterfeit copies of Python for Kids, a popular children’s introduction to programming, and four other No Starch titles. The books were easy to distinguish from No Starch’s production runs because of the poorer quality of the paper and binding
Amazon kept the profits. The publisher got zip.
What’s going on? It is apparent that Amazon’s business tactics constantly push the line of propriety and legality wherever possible. Publishers who signed up for Amazon’s monopoly, eBooks, get paid what Amazon gives them. It’s a non-negotiable price.
Amazon apparently doesn’t police whether book content uploaded… actually belongs to the person doing the uploading. As others who sell through Amazon have discovered, Amazon has had a problem with mixing legitimate and counterfeit products in fulfillment warehouses because of how it prepositions product for Prime Delivery.
It’s not just eBooks, either. Imagine the uproar if Apple was caught selling cheap hardware manufactured by a third party without Apple’s stringent quality control measures.
Courts have yet to find Amazon liable for selling counterfeit products on its site, because the company has been able to argue that it is a platform for sellers, rather than a seller itself.
Amazon’s full refund policy is one way to counter the counterfeits. If you know the difference.
What about all those four and five star reviews? Can they be trusted?
The more positive reviews a product gets, the higher its visibility on Amazon’s search pages. Like Google page rankings, being in the first 10 listings makes it much more likely that a shopper will click on the product and buy it.
So, just like Google’s search engine results, Amazon’s reviews are gamed by manufacturers.
Using gift cards, they will anonymously send products for free to random individuals, in the hope that those people will then write reviews on Amazon. Because Amazon’s system thinks that the individual “purchased” the item, the review will show up as a Verified Purchase.
Ipso facto and alakazam– lots of four and five star reviews that are undeserved.
Amazon cannot be trusted. This is why a little paranoia goes a long way in the 21st century.