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How Scammers in China Manipulate Amazon

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Chinese sellers resort to a wide range of cunning techniques to manipulate product listings on Amazon and boost sales. WSJ’s Jon Emont investigates their strategies and explains how consumers can detect sham listings. Image: Crystal Tai. Video: Clément Bürge/WSJ Don’t miss a WSJ video, subscribe here: http://bit.ly/14Q81Xy More from the Wall Street Journal: Visit WSJ.com: http://www.wsj.com Visit the WSJ Video Center: https://wsj.com/video On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/wsj/videos/ On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WSJ On Snapchat: https://on.wsj.com/2ratjSM
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Text Comments (3679)
Drakilicious (3 days ago)
Sorry I can understand the Asian but the Jew needs some subtitles.
Truth Hurts (3 days ago)
i dont buy unless its prime.
Chris Booboo (6 days ago)
Maybe Amazon is not the god of retail that everyone thinks it is. Maybe looking elsewhere would be a good idea. Amazon is difficult to search because of its size.
Supreme Gate Keeper (8 days ago)
90% of times, when buying from Amazon, I just care from where the product is shipped. Reviews are useless... Americans always seek third-party validationv for their choices... #boring
Olivia Metzger (11 days ago)
Ugh his voice is awful
Olivia Metzger (11 days ago)
Dwij Gurram (12 days ago)
Let's talk about Palestine first
Dwij Gurram (12 days ago)
Chinese revenge for opium wars
Rd Rz (12 days ago)
maybe amazon need Google Ai to help them monitor scams
Rd Rz (12 days ago)
well at least china give the america karma economy
Rd Rz (12 days ago)
basically amazon not improving their policies nowadays
Alexandru Moruz (17 days ago)
If the chinese do it, it's a scam but if the americans do it, it's brilliant.
Paul _ (19 days ago)
amazon cant fix cheap Chinese products that break in a month and you cant fix immoral communism that all Chinese have been taught
Mauritius Dunfagel (20 days ago)
No more shadowy than Amazon, itself.
Uranus Planet (26 days ago)
So many loop holes made some millions of $. You should always look for them as soon as you can the earlier the better and take advantage of it right away
Andrew Vu (26 days ago)
I only buy products that are sold directly from amazon. I don’t trust any other sellers
Jacynda Minor (28 days ago)
Jacynda Minor (28 days ago)
Amazon should hire that guy to head up their fraud department like the fbi does with criminals. Hire mechanical Turk to flag the fakes. I bet you can outbid whatever the bad guys pay, considering amazon doesn’t pay taxes or its employees fairly
The First Oregonism (1 month ago)
Quick solution would be to have an option that allows you to remove all products from or made in china.
Jeoni Tao (1 month ago)
Lol, subtitle for the Chinese guy and not the Israeli dude
Nature King (1 month ago)
When i now started shopping online i used to buy stuff from china,i don't waste my time on their products no more,even the chinese said it themselves ''cheap thing no good!& good thing no cheap''
MANU3L TAPIA III (1 month ago)
China where you dont want to be your basically a puppet to the country n idgaf you aint controlling me. USA even thoe i know we aint much better.
TAYLOR 'D (1 month ago)
Scammers also sell products on eBay & amazon to steal your bank information. One of the ways to tell is by the reviews. Most are fake with a sprinkle real reviews
Frito Lahey (1 month ago)
Dirty deeds, Done dirt cheap.
Alex (1 month ago)
This article made me feels really disgusted!!! Chinese has no morals.. It's all about the money for them!!
Bae (1 month ago)
It's not just Amazon, every big company allows scammers to get away as long as they help bringing customers and make profit. They just don't care about customers.
Tim Monta (1 month ago)
Chinese are true cheaters when comes to business. Is part of the culture and the business negotiations. No wonder their own Amazon is called Alibaba (and the 40 thiefs).
publius ovidius (1 month ago)
lol. So Rupert Murdoch's WSJ is going after Trump's enemy Besos. Why WSJ under Murdoch is toxic garbage.
A K (1 month ago)
I love the subtle racism of this video
Texas baby ktea (1 month ago)
Hoverboards are so stupid and I'm glad they were only popular for a short time.
Kist Kristi (1 month ago)
The unapologetic USA racism towards Asia in 2019 (and since the beginning with Native Americans (who have DNA from Asia) is UNACCEPTABLE. Wall Street Journal should be ASHAMED of their headline. Just because entrepreneurs from China are able to work the system does not mean they are scammers.
SandyRiverBlue (17 days ago)
Also, just over 1 out of every 20 Americans is Asian (6%). Yes, there is racism, it's something we're working on, but it does not rise to the level you're implying.
SandyRiverBlue (17 days ago)
That's a stretch. We now exist as part of an integrated international market and when the most populous country in that market has poor anti-trust laws it hurts competition in all the other parts of the market and erodes trust in the marketplace as a whole. In the United States, we have anti-competitive (anti-trust) laws in place to protect new entrants from being pushed out of a market that simply do not exist in China. It is illegal for example to purposely raise the barrier to entry in order to push your competitor out of the marketplace. There are both civil and legal remedies in the States, and in fact, if there is enough evidence, the government (FTC) will sue on your behalf with no added cost to you. There are few laws in China that are as robust as the Sherman Antitrust Act, The Clayton Act, and The Federal Trade Commission Act. It is not racist to point this out. (Although the captions are a little over the top.)
umsie (25 days ago)
@Kevin Johnson exactly and their smart probably smartest people on earth.
Kevin Johnson (1 month ago)
of course it does. by definition 'working the system' is scamming. i call it what it really is....stealing.
trumpit 2020 (1 month ago)
Mr Wiseman (1 month ago)
My cousin got a mail saying she got $500 amazon coupon. When clicked the link, it took her to AMAZ0N.COM (THATS A ZERO NOT AN O) Fortunately shes didnt remember he login and password..
Justin Moore (1 month ago)
Excellent... feed my children. Soon you will be here to finally liberate me from the thought police.
Alex Hoo (1 month ago)
Amazon is toxic. Buy elsewhere.
NutMonkey (1 month ago)
Same on ebay you have top rated sellers going after competitors to put them out of business, even on other private 3rd party venues like privately owned websites. This is done to drive the seller from ever selling again on ebay or anywhere else. If you can't sell again on Amazon simply go to your bank, close your account and start another one at another bank. Each time use a different local bank. Once you get the accts started. New email address, new Contact info and phone number, then change your Mac IP address on your router, change your screen size then sign up to amazon again under a new selling acct. Don't bother with eBay because they use PayPal. Stay clear from ebay.
Chaplin (1 month ago)
*Amazon protects fake reviews from Chinese sellers. I once bought my mother a foot massager. It was so bad even though they had 4.5 - 5 star review average, that after returning it I starting digging into the reviews. I would select certain sentences from reviews, search them in quotes on google. I found those exact reviews for different massagers, that were on the UK amazon site, not the US one. I gathered proof, posting links to the US massager review, and the UK massager review it was taken from. Word for word. I must have gotten proof for 20 reviews, it took quite a while to compile. I posted that review with the proof / links for other Amazon shoppers to see. It was removed by Amazon and magically later, Amazon blocked me from commenting or leaving reviews for ANYTHING. When I try I get a message in red text saying I've violated community guidelines and therefore can no longer post. They supplied an email address if I have questions. When I wrote the supplied email to see why I was blocked, I never got a response. I emailed them 3-4 times, never a reply. Amazon KNOWS the shady practices and they've proven to me they not only condone it, they promote and encourage it. Their incentive is to keep that sweet cash flowing. Who are they going to side with, one angry customer, or a Chinese shop selling many products that pumps in millions over time?*
Earl Spencer (1 month ago)
Old news. Been going on for years. Amazon doesn't care because to clean up reviews would decrease sales. You should mention that using a second account after being banned is not as easy as it sounds. They will track IP address!
Shannon Doll (1 month ago)
They also solicit customers who give low star ratings, if they change their rating, they will give you gift cards to their stores.
Andy Yin Ni (1 month ago)
If you don’t want pay more money, go to wish .com they have all the best product you can get. Save your time and money.
Seeker (1 month ago)
Roy Niedfeldt (1 month ago)
james murphy (1 month ago)
I don't understand why you would tell anyone this ! Sounds like stupidity
077 Di (1 month ago)
the scammer is worldwide not only chinese, it's human nature...what is very sad that almost every business nowdays evolve around lies, scams, it will became worse unfortunately
quixotic sonnet (1 month ago)
Most of the stuff that I bought from Chinese sellers on Amazon or Ebay was junk that broke that broke within the first few months or didn't work well to begin with. I've stopped buying from Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart.com because those websites are run by Chinese sellers now. It's much better to buy something in person because you can at least know that it was made by a reputable company.
crazeenydriver (1 month ago)
China sellers are killing all US markets. Bad as that is, eBay is actively wooing China sellers and inviting them to sell their cheap inferior goods on eBay motors. Sickening but true.
hot pepper (1 month ago)
How come USA always makes China the bad guy and all their products are made in China?lol
Sunrise Morninglory (1 month ago)
I am not surprised. When I do a search on Amazon to find Products Made in the USA; and try to buy an item that says in the product's description, 'Made in the United States. Then when the item arrives it has a Made in China Logo.
Mahbub Alam (1 month ago)
在这里有中国亚马逊卖家吗? 我想与他/她联系,为他/她提供一切服务,以促进产品销售。
asia sushi (1 month ago)
Wall street journal labeling an entreprenuer/businessman as scammer. As if other sellers on Amazon or other ecommerce platform dont try to boost own listings. Nonsensical scam-like news reporting.
tjames (2 months ago)
Allow Amazon customers to search reviews only by ZIP code, where the product was actually shipped to by ZIP code, this strategy would defeat fake reviews imo. This way I could search a specific area where my relatives live to see what people thought of the product in their area, or in my own suburb, once again fake reviews would likely be such a small percentage it would be irrelevant with this strategy
Simon bastin (2 months ago)
All these people in the comment section crying "waaah when America does it its fine but when China does it it's bad". You people do realize that yes America has scams but not as much as in China right? You won't find a pair of glasses made by an American company that have the CSA logo without being CSA approved but you will find that on Chinese products. You cannot sue the Chinese company but you can sue the American company.
Ahsan Shah (2 months ago)
non gender neutral pronoun there 7:01
sk8queen (2 months ago)
About 3 years ago, my niece got lots of shipments from Amazon. I found we were supposed to go online and rate them. NOT! Thanks for the items though.
David Yu (2 months ago)
This video is awesome.
Oswald Chong (2 months ago)
Another fake news targeting China... Lol
Stephanie&CO (2 months ago)
There are a ton of Facebook groups that promote fake reviews for Amazon... Americans helping them
Holleneichhornchen (2 months ago)
I wonder if he helped the Chinese fraudsters at Noracora??
Philip Fong (2 months ago)
Happens to all platforms, fake accounts to sell the same product at higher price so that potential customers have no choice thinking they are buying the most affordable, at the first few pages.
Rideordie 817 (2 months ago)
Tips for consumer: 1- go to the actual products website 2- find it way lower On Amazon ( just cross check the item to make sure it is genuine).
pj48 (2 months ago)
0:24 are those kids working on the factory line?
Texas baby ktea (1 month ago)
I think they just look smaller and young.
Malawi Page (2 months ago)
The game is rigged
90X Vision (2 months ago)
Thats what white people do.
Mary W (2 months ago)
WSJ is sounding like the New York Post
Mahadragon (2 months ago)
The fake reviews often get called out by people like me who actually look at the reviewers to see how long they’ve been online.
Mahadragon (25 days ago)
Jacynda Minor I do it in the reviews section. People will see it.
Jacynda Minor (28 days ago)
Mahadragon yeah but how, and then what? I want to do this too (on many e-commerce platforms) but oftentimes there’s nowhere to report to :/ it’s good to know I’m not alone but I wonder if there’s more to be done, or that could be done, to help. It’s def laborious af. Are you saying you call them out to the platform or you call them out in the reviews section? it’s good that you care tho it’s important to try and combat the scourge of bs on these here internetz I’m just interested in your methods, experiences, etc.
Jordan Polatol (2 months ago)
he hesitated before he said the uk hahahaha
steven leitao (2 months ago)
Doesn't the Israeli guy look like this https://youtu.be/3v79CLLhoyE
Yanson Yang (2 months ago)
Wonder the sophisticated system and technology that Amazon are using are really sophisticated
Dee H (2 months ago)
This comment is fake.
Kuai Yu (2 months ago)
Is fake review invented in China?
Speak Chinese With Xianmin (2 months ago)
We've got special service for whom got(want to get) business in China. Plz refer to our channel.
Adrian Trummer (2 months ago)
really reminds me of the old days of google seo. lol
Simon Espeche (2 months ago)
Love the doc tho'
Simon Espeche (2 months ago)
I hate your voice
Neri Matrixx (2 months ago)
Tony Street (2 months ago)
visualverbal. Could this be to assist the hard of hearing?
Alex Stepanyuk (2 months ago)
2 guys in the same business doing the same stuff Jewish guy = entrepreneur Chinese guy = scammer right. uhu.
Outoftheattic (2 months ago)
How many commentators buy from amazon ,due to it's customer centrix approach ,also buy knowing it's a Chinese knockoff .Don't complain because the Chinese read the same marketing strategies on our forums then do a better job. Globalization is good .
rac3r5 (2 months ago)
What's with the racial bias Wall Street Journal. The Asian guy spoke english with an American accent but the Israeli guy spoke with an Israeli accent, but you have captions for the Asian guy. What gives?
Joe Shil (2 months ago)
all stupids entrepreneurs..
Guuurl For real? (3 months ago)
Ok that’s it, I’m done with buying from amazon, walking around is healthier anyway
Damien Hartley (3 months ago)
Hey mate china is a very advanced nation and make original quality products and it's mostly America and uk seller's runnings those child labor factory and amazon scam.
Tom Lis (3 months ago)
And this is why we shouldn't allow Amazon to have a monopoly on online sales.
TAYLOR SCOTT (3 months ago)
people are trying to paint the wall street journal as racist when the reality is everybody scams but chynas foundation is built on finessing the game,
bread god (3 months ago)
Oh, so just because China does it, it's a scam? Literally EVERY product on amazon uses fake reviews.
bread god (1 month ago)
Brainjock I know, but fake reviews are generally business as usual for third party sellers on amazon. I would like to know why they aren’t going after all of them.
Brainjock (1 month ago)
Most things china is involved in are scams. Don't get mad, just being honest
Michael Cheng (3 months ago)
The tactics are nothing new, and it has been happening globally for a long time. But the scale is very different. In China (and India too) the labour cost is so cheap and there are hundreds of thousands of people working full time to create fake accounts, making fake sales and fake reviews, for VERY VERY LOW prices. It's a pity this video did not show those people in action. It's actually amazing to watch how a huge team of people each controlling tens of mobile devices and working in high efficiency. You cannot fight that by trying to be a humble honest online seller. (It's not like click farm, which can be done by fully automated systems)
EasyYog11 (3 months ago)
Amazon sells counterfeit - unregulated - chinese junk Amazon needs to indicate country of origin, WSJ article today. selling chinese - unregulated - uncurated, junk. Buy Direct. And Made in the USA.
Viren Joshi (3 months ago)
alcoholicpuppy (3 months ago)
Amazon is a huge company and doesn't pay their employees a fair wage. Where is their money going? Why haven't they done something about the fake reviews and why am I seeing reviews for a product that isn't the one I'm buying. Why does wallet have reviews for a camera, jeans, microwave etc.. This is shows how little they care about their costumers getting ripped off. I most certainly never go for Amazon's choice. I've read plenty reviews to notice fake reviews and just go straight to reading bad ones.
Dre Day (3 months ago)
Subtitles on the guy who speaks perfect English. Maybe that's why they hate us?
imagine that (3 months ago)
The consumer is always getting jipped and we're the ones spending the money no telling what we buying from hustlers
Rafael Gabriel Santos (3 months ago)
Many are fakes... Buy certified frm reputable labs only
Freight forwarder from China DDP (3 months ago)
I don't know🤣🤣🤣
Aslan Bayramuqlany (3 months ago)
Once I thought I have a wide choice of projectors from different brands on amazon. Then I realised that all those projectors are completely identical, produced by the same Chinese manufacturer. They just have some minor cosmetic differences and different artificial brands attached to them. I don’t want to buy anything from someone who wants to deceive me.
Tony Faxton (3 months ago)
I stopped buying things from Amazon for like a year now except books. I bought Nike shoes which turned out from China and FAKE. I bought Vera Wang and Chanel perfume, also turned out to be a fake and from CHINA. I bought a grill cover which promised to be canvas material cover(I live in cold climate), Chinese seller sent me a very thin cover that was definitely not canvas material. The list goes on and on. I made complaints to Amazon one day, and I was told that it's not their responsibility, but customers. An Amazon agent told me that, we should check genuine product by asking people in Amazon community. I was so shocked at this response, I just stopped buying things off Amazon. So, we are supposed to know the fake ones from real ones? Isn't that their job? Why are we paying premium for fake products on Amazon? So, people, just be very careful. That 120 dollar Levis jeans may not be Levis at all from Amazon. If you are lucky enough to catch that counterfeit product, sure you can get your money back from Amazon by returning. BUT, if you are not so lucky catching this fake one, then you just made a complete fool of yourself by paying premium for cheap fake ones from China. Until AMAZON takes a drastic measure of stopping this, I am NOT stupid enough to shop there.
AJ's Discoveries (3 months ago)
One thing they didnt say and i know this for FACT, #1 amazon, ebay, etc... put in place several seminars annually to teach chinese how to sell on amazon (they prefer chinese sellers) and do they even do anything close to that in the U.S. ? no way #2- another thing i have made a video of and will post it on youtube soon, that chinese sellers dont collect or pay taxes in the U.S. which our government should do something about it to amazon. and #3 MOST IMPORTANTLY they fool American sellers by stating their product is USDA and FDA cleared. Which is full of BS when you do a search on FDA or USDA website you wont find them or one company out of so many i searched was listed on FDA as a "repackager" which is no where close to FDA approved product. or they post 3 party letters which means nothing. As an amazon shopper i have reported this to amazon and even tried to return the items because i proved that they were not FDA or USDA certified as they stated, when reporting them, amazon never responded and about returning the items, amazon refused and said to contact the seller. #4 dont ever buy adult products from amazon as they are made in china with plastic which is very harmful for the human body (labeled as TPE< PEV, or TPR, and liquid silicone) these are all plastic but made to feel like silicone in rat infested factories. I know this because one time i accompanied a friend in china to a factories where they made them. How to know if the seller is chinese, when they respond in Chinglish and dont have a phone and physical address listed or website. You guys should really do a story on these FAKE FDA and USDA approved products on amazon.
How to Guides and Reviews (3 months ago)
The israeli guy says that his products got suspended because they were flagged by buyers as fake. Well the thing is amazon DOES sell FAKE products, they sent me a FAKE WD BLUE hard drive! So maybe he got caught selling fakes. https://youtu.be/gVQAivA3hBw
Stephanie Lin (3 months ago)
Wall Street Journal, this is so pathetic. Brainwashing viewers and with manipulative titles and racist content. Completely no respect for your group and will never watch your content again.
prashant bisht (3 months ago)
maximum products on Amazon india are fake and overpriced...
Zeek M (3 months ago)
Dear China, Thank you for scamming, because I can take your scam and turn it into the weapons need.
Smart Baba (3 months ago)
W #Amazon don't buys products from other countries, where they are doing business, Like #Indonesia, #India or other, their manufacturers also get profit.