FTC cracks down on Amazon “Review Hijacking” twisters

On Amazon, common elements for product variations like size, color, and styles are combined into what’s called Twisters. When used as intended it’s valuable for sellers and users. It allows users to quickly move through variants while most elements of the page remain the same.

Sellers quickly realized that they could launch new products in a Twister and assign the reviews from an older product to the new product. A new product can instantly benefit from thousands of positive reviews without ever having been in a buyer’s hands.

In some cases when there is only a minor change of a product this does not harm consumers but in many cases this is being used when the new product is significantly different from the older product.

In the case of Nature’s Bounty and Sundown vitamins and supplements from Amazon. The FTC alleged that these products were marketed deceptively by The Bountiful Company. This first FTC Twister targeting case resulted in a $600,000 fine for The Bountiful company for combining reviews between multiple products.

Boosting your products by hijacking another product’s ratings or reviews is a relatively new tactic, but is still plain old false advertising. The Bountiful Company is paying back $600,000 for manipulating product pages and deceiving consumers.

Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Read the full FTC complaint here