Amazon dark patterns

I just tried to leave a review on Amazon today (using their mobile app) on a product I purchased earlier this year that eventually stopped working.

So I go into the app, scroll through my orders, click on the item I bought and click the button to leave a review.


After spending ~5 to ~10 minutes filling it out I get this message.

This item is only eligble for Amazon Verified Purchase Reviews.

What a waste of my time! I bought the thing, Amazon knows this, so what is this about "Amazon Verified Purchase reviews"

Note that I only got this message AFTER trying to leave a 2 star review. What would have happend if I had left a more positive review? Would that be allowed?


Is it because this is a "Amazon's Choice" product that they're proclaiming? Somehow 2,660 customers were able to leave a review, but not me...

Amazon and others gaming the review system

It's so often I see obviously fake / low effort reviews posted on Amazon. All of the recent reviews are 5 stars and full of useless praise. For example, take a look at this product.

Let's scroll down to the read the reviews. Oh that's interesting, looks like two or three people left a 1 star review but the other 72 people left a perfect 5.

Wait, are those real people? Let's look at the most recent reviews left by the three folks at the top:


Interesting! Jeff R and Lauren burleson and an anonymous Amazon Customer all reveiwed this "Pest Control Ultrasonic Pest Repeller, Set of 6" and then they all happened to review "Compression Socks for Men & Women" as well!

What else did they review?


Crazy, the same three people (presumably bought) and reviewed the same three, seemingly disparate, products on Amazon at the same time! What are the chances!?!?

Or, maybe it's a low effort scam that Amazon could easily detect, prevent, or clean up!

Then there's me, a human, trying to leave an honest, critical review. I've had 32 orders (often of multiple items) in 2018. 41 orders in 2017. 56 orders placed in 2016. My account history goes back to 2006 when I bought a Head First Java, 2nd Edition book.

But my opinion isn't allowed on Amazon.

A waste of my time

I wouldn't be this annoyed if this wasn't the second time in the last year I tried leaving a less then perfect review on a product I had purchased on Amazon, only to hear that my review "could not be posted to the website in its current form" after I spent half an hour of my time reviewing (with pictures) it.

Last December I received a damaged Amazon Basics item:



And subsequently attempted to warn other potential buyers of my issue with it:


But no! Amazon wouldn't have it!

Though after speaking to customer support, they ended up giving me 30% off the product, I would rather pay the listed price and have an undamaged item show up on time than have to deal with support, printing return labels, repackaging, driving to a drop-off box or UPS store, and gamble with the chance of receiving a more satisfactory product shipped to me.

I figured other customers might want to know. But Amazon won't let me warn them.

Instead the allowed reviewers are mostly bots and mostly fake.