Amazon is testing a new shopping feature that shows customer reviews from other countries - but it ignores the big problem with user reviews

Amazon is testing a new shopping feature that shows customer reviews from other countries - but it ignores the big problem with user reviews
Amazon warehouse

Getty/Beata Zawrzel

  • Amazon is testing a new feature that shows customer reviews from around the world.
  • It's Amazon's latest move to increase the number of customer reviews on its site.
  • But marketplace experts say the new effort fails to address, and may even exacerbate, the ongoing problem of fake reviews.
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Amazon has quietly launched a new feature that shows customer reviews from its marketplaces around the world, Business Insider has learned.

The reviews from international sites show up at the bottom of each product page, with the option to translate them into other languages. It is being tested globally across Amazon's different marketplaces, including the US, Mexico, and Japan.

The new feature is the latest move by Amazon to increase the number of customer reviews on its site. Customer reviews are important for sellers as shoppers typically look at the product ratings and reviews before buying on Amazon.

"The more reviews, the better the customer's purchase decision will be," said Ed Rosenberg, who runs Amazon Seller Group TG, an organization that helps online merchants.


In an email to Business Insider, Amazon's spokesperson confirmed the launch, saying it is being rolled out globally, with machine translation abilities for English, Spanish, and French, among other languages.

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'Mission to increase reviews'

The move is part of Amazon's broader efforts to grow the amount of customer feedback and engagement on its site, according to Juozas Kaziukenas, CEO of Marketplace Pulse.

Amazon introduced a new ratings system last year that allows shoppers to leave a star rating without a written review. It has also recently expanded its Vine program, which connects top reviewers with sellers that give out free products, to third-party merchants, and launched a new "request a review" button for the sellers.

All of this is resulting in a higher number of customer reviews for every product on Amazon, Kaziukenas said. It's also likely going to generate more positive ratings because stars without a written review are easier to leave, he said.


"Amazon is on a mission to have more products with more reviews," Kaziukenas said.

Garrett Bluhm, founder of Vendient, a marketplace consultant, said it's no surprise that Amazon is showcasing its international reviews, as the company is pushing into more overseas markets. Amazon currently runs 15 marketplaces around the world, and the international reviews can serve as "another point of reference" for customers to find quality products on its site, he said.

Fake reviews

But marketplace experts say these moves still fail to address the problem around fake reviews on Amazon.

A number of press reports have highlighted how some sellers manipulate reviews to make their products look better and more popular than they actually are. In some cases, sellers spend $10,000 each month on fake reviews to boost rankings, according to a report by Buzzfeed.

In July, Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois wrote a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to express concerns over the deceptive reviews and ratings of the products on its marketplace.


"Online reviews significantly affect consumers' shopping decisions, and it is important that Amazon proactively protect consumers from such misleading and harmful behavior," Pallone and Schakowsky wrote in the letter.

James Thomson, partner at BuyBox Experts, said that making international reviews available to US customers only increases the urgency to verify every review as legitimate. The bigger challenge, he said, is how to ensure international feedback is relevant in another country. For example, a slow delivery in one country could be misconstrued as a problem for customers in another country.

"These new Amazon efforts don't address the trust-busting challenges of black hat feedback solicitation techniques that remain rampant," Thomson said.

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