Federal Trade Commission (FTC – United States Federal Government Agency) Guidelines: Why Bloggers, Websites, and Others Who Use Affiliate Links, Offer Product Reviews, Etc. Should Be Aware of the FTC Guidelines
Specific FTC links: https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-staff-revises-online-advertising-disclosure-guidelines/130312dotcomdisclosures.pdf (PDF file) and/or https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking.
I am not an attorney and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal expert who is familiar with the area of legal expertise you need.
I saw this on BuzzFeed – https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nicolenguyen/her-amazon-purchases-are-real-the-reviews-are-fake. If you read through the comments, somebody used the information in the article to figure out who “Jessica” – is and posted her Amazon link. As she purchases the product, the reviews are shown as Verified Purchases.
I agree with the comments made that Amazon not only needs to punish companies offer free products or 100% rebates for 5-star reviews, but they also need to go after people like “Jessica” because she is making reviews meaningless. Not only that, but the FTC needs to go after her because she is violating the FTC guidelines I posted above by not revealing she is getting free products. Plus, the IRS should be going after her for all these free gifts and rebates she is getting as that’s taxable income – $15,000 and counting.
I bring this up now as Black Friday/Cyber Monday is fast approaching and I encourage people not to rely on product reviews, especially if the reviews are companies you are not familiar with. Most of the reviews by “Jessica” are by Chinese companies, supposedly small business owners, operating under company names that sound American. She has no problem hawking her fake reviews to friends and others unless they are moral enough to have issues with what she is doing. At some point, it’s going to come back to bite her in a big way. Same goes for other fake reviewers, be they on Amazon or elsewhere.