Definitely not “China bashing”, as the CFIA & the Canadian gov’t is rather cautious about that due to current circumstances. Remember: We Canucks aren’t an extension of the United States.
I don’t get why they need to send a physical shipment to generate the fake reviews
Is it situations where the distribution service controls the placing of reviews, ie only on notification of delivery is the option to place review activated?
Yes, kind of. Orders are placed through a marketplace platform (e.g. Amazon or Alibaba) and the seller is fulfilling those orders. Marketplaces assign greater weight to “verified purchases” (i.e. it was shipped to someone, then reviewed). This is intended to prevent fake or sponsored reviews from influencing the system. Same reason why NYT Bestsellers are based on sales data… though neither does that prevent the players from evolving and gaming the system.
Gaming the system is easier now because:
- Addresses & Names are cheap & easy to get:
- could just be using name & address data from a hack/dump
- or just bought from a data broker.
- or even from state agencies such as the DMV (cf. lax American privacy laws).
- Fake accounts are cheap:
- use bots to do so
- use inexpensive labour from SE Asia
- The product & shipping is cheap:
- Main cost is shipping & even that is cheap
- Seeds probably cost a few pennies
- Nothing looks suspicious
- Few people complain when they get something “free”
- Lots of people don’t want to admit to mistakes or not remembering
- Less suspicious than receiving an empty box
Personally, I never buy anything based on strangers’ good reviews. I’m more interested in the “problem transactions” and how the company dealt with them!
Those positive reviews may influence some people, however the main target is the sorting algorithm on the retailer’s site. If your widget is ranked in the top 5 on Amazon, you’re going to sell a lot of widgets, even if they aren’t the best or the cheapest.