Black Hat Tactics on Amazon: A Trick or a Treat?

October 20, 2022
Written by Ken Zhou
Black hat tactics on Amazon

Halloween is just around the corner, meaning spooky nights, costumes, candies, and, most important, tricks and treats! For Amazon sellers, the most spooky they can feel is when configuring whether using black hat tactics is a trick or a threat to their business.

To begin with, as an Amazon seller, it's understandable that you're always looking for ways to boost your sales and grow a profitable business. But sometimes, swerving on the black hat tactics lane can be temptingーespecially when many opportunities await you.

If you're unfamiliar with black hat tactics on Amazon, it refers to strategies sellers use to make more money or get an edge on the competition. These tactics have stirred much debate in the Amazon marketplace and earned a stink eye from honest Amazon account managers and sellers alike.

Some sellers feel like they have to do whatever it takes to get ahead, while others believe that these techniques are nothing but a waste of time and money. So, what's the truth? Are black hat tactics on the Amazon marketplace a trick or a treat? In other words, are they something to be avoided at all costs, or is there some benefit to using them?

How Can Black Hat Tactics Help You Increase Your Sales?

It's no secret that Amazon is a mirror image of the physical world. Just as in the physical world, there are different peopleーsome are good, and some are bad. But all of them are vying for attention and sales. Sometimes, out of desperation, some use whatever means necessary to get ahead of the competition, even if it means breaking the rules or using Amazon black hat tactics.

While this strategy may not sound like a desirable way to perform business, why do some Amazon sellers resort to these tactics? The answer is simple: quick fix. For obvious reasons, some use black hat tactics because of the advantages one's Amazon business could get instantly. Here are a few types of black hat tactics and how they help increase your Amazon sales:

  1. Creating fake reviews

In the world of online e-commerce, reviews and ratings are everything. It serves as the deciding factor for a customer checking whether your products are worth their money or not. A potential customer can be swayed by a single five-star review or turned off by a two-star average. Unfortunately, some Amazon businesses have taken notice of the power customer reviews hold and have resorted to shady tactics to increase their numbers.

Creating fake reviews is more prevalent than you think. This black hat tactic is done by setting up multiple Amazon accounts and then using those accounts to write reviews for their products. Some sellers also pay for reviews from third-party services. This activity can seem harmless, but it does horrors to both sellers and customers.

When you mislead potential customers with fake product reviews, it can lead to false expectations. If a customer reads a glowing review of a product or service, proceeds to purchase, and receives something that doesn't live up to the hype, then that's a stroke of tough luck on receiving negative reviews and loss of trust.

  1. Hijacking competitor's listings

This kind of black hat Amazon activity involves creating a listing for a product similar to your competitor's and then changing it to appear for your product instead. It's an attempt to divert sales from competitors to yours. Not only is this unethical, but it can also lead to confusion for customers and may even result in Amazon removing your listing altogether.

Black hat Amazon hijack listing

  1. Manipulating search results

Have you ever noticed that some listings appear more often than others when looking for Amazon products? Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, not to generalize, but in some cases, it could be due to the manipulation of search results through keyword stuffing.

It involves filling a product listing with hundreds or even thousands of keywords to make the listing more visible in the search results and increase sales. It's a black hat SEO technique that goes against Amazon's guidelines. However, this tactic is quickly becoming obsolete, as Amazon's algorithms can now detect and penalize listings that use keyword stuffing.

While most people in the marketplace consider these black hat tactics unethical, they're still used by some sellers to increase their sales. However, can these benefits outweigh the risk associated with them?

Risks Associated With Using Black Hat Tactics

When it comes to breaking out of the clutter and coming out successful on the Amazon marketplace, there are a lot of different tactics and strategies that Amazon sellers can use. But unfortunately, not all of these comply with Amazon's policies.

That's why these are called "black hat tactics." Although these can benefit your business, they can do more harm than good in the long run. Here are some of the risks associated with it:

  1. You could be banned on Amazon

You’re selling on Amazon because it's a platform known as the go-to place for shoppers worldwide whenever searching for products. It's why getting banned on the biggest e-commerce platform is something you wouldn't like to experience.

If Amazon caught you using black hat tactics, these unethical and deceptive practices designed to game the system could cause your account to be suspended or permanently banned. Unfortunately, that means you'd lose access to one of the biggest ecommerce platforms in the world, and it would not be easy to get back on. So it's important to think of the consequences before you do anything.

  1. You could damage your brand's reputation

Your brand's reputation is instilled in your customers, and it can entice potential customers to trust you. Using shady tactics will be detrimental to your strategy if you're building a credible reputation as a seller.

A damaged reputation can be very hard to recover. That's why it's so important to avoid any practices that could damage your brand's reputation. For example, black hat tactics like manipulating Amazon's search algorithm are a big no-no. Not only will you risk a hefty fine from Amazon, but you'll also be alienating potential customers who value honesty and transparency.

So it's better to play it safe and protect your brand on the Amazon marketplace. Avoid any practices that could jeopardize your good name as much as possible. After all, your reputation is one of your most valuable assets.

  1. You could get fined or even sued

There's a lot of pressure to succeed in the world of ecommerce, and sometimes that can lead people to take shortcuts. One of these shortcuts is using black hat tactics to manipulate their standing on the Amazon platform. Unfortunately, this can have some serious legal consequences.

You could face serious legal consequences if you’re caught black hat tactics on Amazon. Depending on the severity of the offense, you could end up being fined or even sued. So it's important to be of the risks before taking shortcuts. Remember, being aware of the rules may be hard to do, but it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Black hat tactics consequences

With these risks on the line, ask yourself if it's worth it to use black hat tactics or stick with the honest ways. Because although these tactics can give you a short-term boost, in the long run, you're much better off playing by the rules.

Increase Your Sales the Honest Way With Us

So is indulging in black hat tactics a trick or treat? We'd say it's a trick, even though it seems like a treat at first. As digital marketing and ecommerce continue to grow, so do the black hat tactics. But you shouldn't rely on them-you want people to come back for your product because they like it and not because you tricked them into buying it. After all, sustainable growth is the name of the game when you're an e-commerce seller.

However, we understand that it can be difficult to keep up with the changes and know what is allowed on the Amazon platform. So when in doubt, always err on the side of caution. It's best to go for the honest route when building your business online. Additionally, consider enlisting the help of Amazon experts like Seller Interactive, which specializes in growing businesses on Amazon.

We stay on top of all the updates and changes on Amazon, so you don't have to worry about accidentally using any black hat techniques. If you're unsure of the strategies you're currently employing for your business, schedule a call with us today, and we'll help you get started with it!

Go from surviving to thriving on Amazon.

Use the power and influence of advertising to increase sales. Learn more about how you can benefit from our management expertise.
Book a Call
Become a better seller

Read More

Understanding Amazon Ads: What Does 'Sponsored' Mean on Amazon? Amazon advertising home screen on a cellphone.

When looking for the best item on the Amazon marketplace, those at the top of search results are always our first options. It's an open secret: sponsored items are the first to appear, so we immediately think they're bestsellers or have good reviews.  But what does 'sponsored' mean on Amazon? Do sponsored products mean they're […]

How Long Does It Take for Amazon to Refund or Reimburse? A Guide How long does it take for amazon to refund?

Most answers online will say it takes 7 to 10 business days. It's correct, though applicable only in some circumstances. The answer is much more specific, depending on someone’s role in the marketplace. For starters, buyers and sellers go through different processes to get their money back when it comes to returned items. This influences […]

Using Walmart Ad Like A Pro Billboard Advertising

It’s no secret that Walmart is one of the most meticulously crafted marketplaces in the world. On top of that, they’re also meticulous when it comes to maintaining the performance of their sellers, which must be on par with their standards. While it has only been a few years since Walmart entered the eCommerce industry, […]