VIP Deals, a company that makes leather cases for tablets recently offered a deal where customers who purchased their product could receive a full refund for writing a positive review of the product on Amazon.
From The New York Times…
By the time VIP Deals ended its rebate on Amazon.com late last month, its leather case for the Kindle Fire was receiving the sort of acclaim once reserved for the likes of Kim Jong-il. Hundreds of reviewers proclaimed the case a marvel, a delight, exactly what they needed to achieve bliss. And definitely worth five stars.
By last week, 310 out of 335 reviews of VIP Deals’ Vipertek brand premium slim black leather case folio cover were five stars and nearly all the rest were four stars.
The merchant, which seems to have no Web site and uses a mailbox drop in suburban Los Angeles as a return address, did not respond to further requests for comment. As of last week, the company (as opposed to its products) had received 4,945 reviews on Amazon for a nearly perfect 4.9 rating out of five.
The transaction of goods for reviews is against Amazon policy and highly unethical. It makes one wonder how valid crowd ratings can be in a climate of falsified clicking, followers, and reviews.