- Lena R. Liberman
- On August 31, 2018
- 1 Comments
- Amazon, fbg, feedback genius, incentivized reviews, news, product reviews
There’s a big Amazon news story this week, and like so many things having to do with Amazon, it’s complicated, many tentacled, and expansive in reach. I’ve chosen to do a special edition of In Case You Missed It devoted to this single story (you’d not be out of line were you to call it “Bathroom Breaks, Bernie, Bezos, and Brands”) and the larger issue of Amazon reputation management.
First We Need to Talk About Bernie . . .
- Thousands of Amazon Workers Receive Food Stamps. Now Bernie Sanders Wants Amazon to Pay Up
- Bernie vs. Bezos: Amazon and Sanders Are Duking It Out Over Warehouse Working Conditions
- Why Is Amazon Scared of Bernie Sanders?
- Amazon Calls Bernie Sanders’ Crusade for Warehouse Workers ‘Inaccurate and Misleading’
And Then We Need to Talk About the Bernie Backlash . . .
- Amazon Defends Itself from Bernie Sanders’ Attacks
- In Response to Bernie Sanders, Amazon Shows It Cares About Its Reputation More Than Ever Before
Which Brings Us to Twitter and the Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC) Ambassadors . . .
- What’s the Deal with the Fulfillment Center Workers Who Are Tweeting About How Great Amazon Is?
- What Is This Weird Twitter Army of Amazon Drones Cheerfully Defending Warehouse Work?
- Bot or Not? Amazon Says Its Perky Twitter Ambassadors Are Real
- Amazon Pays Employees to Tweet About How Much They Like Working Inside Fulfillment Centers
And Then to Amazon’s Reputation and Reputation Management in General
- Amazon ‘Fulfillment Ambassadors’ Reportedly Compensated for Positive Tweets
- Amazon Is Giving Employees $50 Gift Cards to Tweet Nice Things About the Company
- Amazon Hired an Army of Employees to Say Nice things About It on Twitter, and It Shows How Big Its Reputation Problem Has Gotten
I touched on this in last week’s ICYMI when the story was just breaking and no one was really sure what was happening save for a bunch of Amazon FC Ambassadors Tweeting (in similar words, no less) how well they were treated at work and how happy they are at their jobs in the Amazon warehouses. The Internet, never a place to shy away from conspiracies, immediately questioned whether the workers’ accounts were run by the actual workers, by a PR company, by bots, or even by a Russian troll farm. I think that in this case, questioning authenticity and individuality and motives is pretty legitimate.
It seems as if the Amazon Fulfillment Center Ambassadors are indeed real employees who were happy to Tweet about their workplace satisfaction. Were they given scripts? Did they have any input into the Tweets? Were they compensated or rewarded or otherwise incentivized? Did the Amazon FC Ambassador program exist prior to Amazon’s recent reputation problems surrounding workplace conditions? What is the program exactly and what have they done other than Tweet these Tweets? So many questions.
But honestly, I’m not really sure that much matters beyond these two facts:
- Amazon has a reputation problem
- Amazon reportedly incentivized the positive Tweets by allegedly giving the Ambassadors a day off and an Amazon gift card.
And these are the only two facts about which I want to write today. NB: Wages and workplace conditions (Amazon and beyond) are serious matters that deserve attention and investigation. But in this case, that’s not something that I can do nor is it something that has fully been done yet by others, so without full information, I must reserve judgment.
What I can (and will) address is the fact that Amazon did something that it forbids sellers to do, and thus, it violated its own stance. What do I mean? Amazon used the incentivized-reviews strategy to get the FC Ambassadors to post positive feedback that influences consumers. And that, for better or for worse, is not a tactic that Amazon allows its sellers to employ.
I’d love to believe that this irony is not lost on the decision makers, but more so, I’d like to believe that Amazon has learned just how serious and challenging reputation management is and how a few complaints (legitimate or not) can really do damage to a brand’s name, especially with the accelerated-culture that is social media. Combating that is really difficult. This a challenge that Amazon sellers face daily as they struggle to get legitimate reviews and feedback. And in this case, even Amazon couldn’t seem to pull it off without resorting to a tactic it has outlawed for you.
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