According to the report, middlemen use social media sites like WeChat to track down Amazon employees, offering them cash to turn over internal information or to delete negative reviews. The WSJ also reports that it costs roughly $300 to take down a bad review, with brokers “[demanding] a five-review minimum” per transaction. Amazon employees have also been asked to provide e-mail addresses of customers who left negative reviews, or to provide sales information to give sellers an edge against their competitors. To combat the behavior, an Amazon spokesperson told the WSJ that it has implemented “systems to restrict and audit what employees can access.”
This is not too different from payola in which recording studio reps paid DJ's to play their songs and thus give a boost to record sales. The problem for the station is that it undermines whatever relationship that it might have with a competing studio. Agents are not working in the principal's best interest.
$300 huh. I know that I am naive because I would have overpaid to remove the bad review.