9: Review Bribe?

You know what's weird about the internet? The shady, scammy side of it.

I recently bought a new pair of headphones on Amazon. For the record, the headphones are great. They have all the capability that I wanted, and they sound good. I have no issue with the product, but this part was super shady.

In the box there was a $10 bribe for a 5 star review. I'm not even kidding, but I definitely wish I was. Packed into the box along with the headphones was a little card with Amazon's logo on it that said something about getting a $10 gift card. I'd probably ignore that kind of thing most of the time, but again, it had Amazon's logo. It made me take a look.

The card had a few steps on it: Step 1 was to scan a QR code. Step 2, write a 5 star review. Step 3 was to screenshot the review and send it to some random gmail account to get $10.

I don't even know where to start with this one. To the best of my knowledge, this is in total violation of Amazon's terms of service, but even more importantly than that, if this is real, it's pretty slimy. You shouldn't just buy product reviews from people. If you want a five star review from people make a five star product. It's about as simple as that.

After doing a little digging into this, I found out that this is apparently a thing that happens quite a bit. The overall purpose is to push a product higher in the search rankings because apparently nobody clicks on page two of Amazon's search results. It's a pretty bad business practice.

In general, you,re probably better off ignoring five and one star reviews on Amazon anyway. Five star reviews usually come from people who don't know what they are talking about, and one star reviews are often flukes and quality control issues. That said, it doesn't change the fact that buying reviews for any star level is pretty lousy.

But of course, there's another question here. Is this even real? I mean, I'm not sure what the QR code went to or what it had to do with the review. And then there was the random gmail account. Here's the thing: I get a lot of stuff from Amazon. I have never once received an email from them using a gmail account. Even the people who manufacture the product probably wouldn't use a gmail account. It's weird and shady all over.

And then there's this line: "for your Amazon account security, do not attach this card picture on your review when you leave a review." Sure thing. Just keep it hush, hush for you. Right.

Real or not, it's a tad disappointing. I mean, that's pretty gross to be buying reviews like that, but also, is my integrity really worth $10? Please.

So all in all, the headphones are fine, but I don't know about the company. If that's real, that's a bit nasty. If it isn't well then who knows what kind of scam they're trying to pull.

Either way, there's no way I'm scanning that QR code.

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