The FTC has fined an Amazon seller (Nature’s Bounty) $600,000 for allegedly “review hijacking” its own products by creating “variation” relationships between them, allowing new products to borrow the best-selling badges, reviews, and ratings from established products.
As reviews, ratings, and badges significantly impact consumers, the FTC frowns upon advertisers attempting to manipulate the system. Online marketplaces should take stricter measures to crack down on misbehaving merchants engaging in deceptive behavior.
Boosting your products by hijacking another product’s ratings or reviews is a relatively new tactic, but is still plain old false advertising.
Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection