9 Oct-2016

Effective Immediately, Amazon is Prohibiting Sellers from Providing Free or Discounted Items for Product Reviews

Last week Amazon announced a major change to their community guidelines: Incentivized product reviews are now prohibited, meaning Amazon sellers are no longer allowed to give away products for free or at a discounted price in return for product reviews, this includes giving promo codes to prospective reviewers. Amazon has always been diligent with their product review platform but there was always a loophole allowing reviewers to receive a product from a seller at little or no cost in return for an “honest” review. All the reviewer had to do was disclose in writing that they received the item for free or at a discount in return for an unbiased review.

It didn’t take long for sellers around the world to start giving out promo codes to reviewers. Several companies started creating communities of reviewers solely for this purpose, and it worked beautifully for sellers. Apparently it was too good to be true as a recent eye-opening report from Review Meta suggested that the vast majority of incentivized reviews were positive. The data further showed that the positive reviews were more of a result of the reviewer receiving free items than the reviewer receiving amazing quality products. Worried about the diminishing credibility of their review system, Amazon announced that if it finds anyone working the system by incentivizing reviews it will take action starting immediately (including account suspensions = you could be out of business for Q4 2016!!). Since that announcement was made on October 3rd 2016, if you have items out waiting for a review, be sure to contact the buyer and tell them not to leave a review or to remove their prior review if it’s after October 3rd.

-Patrick McDaniel, Managing Director, Amzaar.com