Monday, September 2, 2019

Amazon Reviews: Broken System

Between 1 in 3 and 2 in 3 product reviews on are fake. They are bought and paid for. They are written by friends and family. They are swapped and traded on Facebook. They are incentivized from readers. Talking about this problem as I have for nearly 2 decades now has made me the repeat target of the thousands who make their living writing reviews, the millions of sellers who benefit from the fake praise and the dozens of Amazon employees working the system for personal and/or professional benefit.

Having reported problems with reviews to Amazon hundreds of times over decades and received repeated, direct retaliation from Amazon employees for doing so, I learned the hard way about the active involvement of Amazon employees in Amazon’s own marketplace, whether to ensure the success of themselves, family or associates or simply to ensure the failure of particular targets. This occurring repeatedly despite state and federal laws protecting those who report criminal activity, corporate malfeasance and other corporate wrongdoings from retaliation by those they are reporting.

Letters and emails to Amazon executives were answered with retaliation, as were letters and emails written to Amazon’s own legal team. This occurred because of the hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce that flow through Amazon annually. This occurred because those who rock the boat are targeted and thrown overboard. This occurred because of Amazon’s deep ties with local, state and federal government. This occurred because Amazon's executives buy entire newsrooms. This occurred because the truth could utterly destroy Amazon's marketplace dominance.

With control within the government and within the media, Amazon knows it has little to fear. Maybe a decade or so from now they’ll get a fine with a slap on the wrist despite ongoing, widespread corruption and corporate malfeasance. How quaint of them to recently throw their hands up in the air and declare they can no longer guarantee their marketplace. Meanwhile their own employees have steered billions in sales from one direction into another, harmed the sales of this product to ensure the success of that and more. Meanwhile Amazon employees have enriched themselves, their families, their friends, their associates. Meanwhile their executives have become billionaires by ensuring not even the truth affects the flow of commerce across their server engines.

If you know me, you know I’ve written many times about this problem, this widespread corruption. You know Amazon has targeted my books repeatedly because I’ve spoken out, because I’ve complained about my books being bombarded with unfavorable reviews by unscrupulous competitors, because I’ve let others know that Amazon itself was part of the problem. Speaking out about this problem has cost me millions of sales and tens of millions in earnings—and yet I will continue to speak out. I will not be silenced by Amazon’s continued heavy-handed retaliation or the criminal actions of its employees or others.

For those who don’t know me, please do take the time to read the numerous articles I’ve written about this problem. You’ll find the articles here at Linkedin, in my personal blogs ( and, at Go Indie ( and on my websites ( and You’ll find posts about this problem going back to 2003 here @ I do of course write as William Stanek, Robert Stanek, William R. Stanek and William Robert Stanek.

Thanks for reading, I’m William Robert Stanek, Microsoft’s #1 author for nearly 20 years, and author of over 250 topselling books.

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