Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Amazon Needs to Provide Assurance That Reviews Are Not Subject to Legal Harassment

I realize it is a tricky situation for Amazon. But if Amazon doesn't strongly and openly attack companies and lawyers trying to silence honest reviews on Amazon then we can't trust Amazon's reviews which have been a great source of information for customers.

Here is an example of a law firm trying to rid Amazon of honest reviews. The lawyers at Amazon probably want Amazon to just ignore things and let the intimidation take place. Legally it is likely the easiest thing for Amazon to do.

But if Amazon puts customer service first (which I think they try to do more than most companies) they have to take a strong stand against lawyers trying to suppress information about bad products of the companies they represent. The strong steps they could take include putting a note on every product by that company leading to details about evidence the company attempts to suppress negative reviews. They could also suspend offending companies for a period of time. They could raise their margins on such companies (thus making those companies products more costly). They could require companies to disclose any legal actions taken against Amazon review. Amazon could take legal action (or provide lawyers to those with standing to take legal action if lawyers trying to undermine Amazon's reviews isn't seen as something Amazon is allowed to protect against) against those lawyers trying to undermine the integrity of Amazon reviews.

There are all sorts of things Amazon could do to give customers access to better reviews that if lawyers are allied to intimidate and suppress honest negative reviews. They require effort and expense by Amazon so I doubt they will do much more than token action when the attention is so strong as to make inaction cause people question the integrity of Amazon reviews. It is certainly easier to sit by and ignore attempts to suppress negative reviews. I hope Amazon decides to take strong and public action to stop the abuse of the legal system to suppress negative reviews.

Related: HP Leaders Once Again Caught in Corruption Scandal - Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - Poor Service from Amazon (2008) - Jeff Bezos: Innovation, Experiments and Long Term Thinking - Links about Customer Hostility by Companies Update: Amazon revoked the offending company's right to sell on Amazon. Good move.