8 Nov-2015

Getting Product Reviews – The Right Way

Amazon’s customer-centric approach to online shopping not only allows but encourages shoppers to leave honest reviews for the products they buy. Every Amazon seller wants lots of positive reviews for their products because not only do they let customers know that they are making a wise purchase but they also factor into Amazon’s search result rankings. Due to the fact that Amazon allows anyone to leave a product review, regardless if they previously bought the item on Amazon or not, there have been those who have been quick to exploit the system. Competitors leaving negative reviews is of course a concern but it’s the practice of paying others to leave positive reviews that has been in the news recently. Amazon announced that they are filing a lawsuit against over 1,000 individuals who have accepted cash in return for fake positive reviews. Websites such as buyamazonreviews.com who offered this service have been shut down and hundreds of Fiverr accounts are being investigated for false advertising and violating consumer protection acts. It has recently been announced that Amazon is even suspending seller accounts of those who utilized these services.

Here we will discuss the right way to accumulate product reviews to help sellers boost sales while staying in Amazon’s good graces. When you look at a product page under the review section, you will notice that some reviews say “Verified Purchase”, “Hall of Fame Reviewer” or “Top 1000 Reviewer”. The “Verified Purchase” means that the person who left the review really did buy the item on Amazon. Amazon solicits reviews from the customer after the purchase via an automated email. There are also some services, such as FeedbackFive, which send a customized email from you to the customer asking for seller and/ or product reviews. We prefer the method of including a note in each product thanking the customer for their business and asking for a review if they like the item. We also include our contact info and ask that they contact us first if there is a problem.

One great way to get reviews, especially for new products, is to reach out to Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewers and top reviewers. A list of such reviewers is available here. Most of the top reviewers post their email addresses and you can contact them directly with a list of items you would like to have reviewed. Not every reviewer will be interested in your products but if they are you are responsible for getting them a sample product to review at no charge. The reviewers must mention in their review that the item was provided for review purposes. You have to remember that just because they receive something for free they are not obligated to give the product a five-star review. If you go this route the review will say “Hall of Fame Reviewer” or “Top 1000 Reviewer” or something of the like. Be wary of messages in your Seller Central inbox from reviewers asking for products to review as they are often scams from people just trying to get something for free.

One other method for getting product reviews is to ask people you know to leave them, with or without actually giving them a sample product. If you go this route, there will not be a “Verified Purchase” or “Hall of Fame Reviewer” label next to the review. Though this is tempting as you know your friends and family will do you a solid and leave awesome reviews about your products, there are a few caveats to be aware of as this is a slippery slope. The first thing to note is that if Amazon thinks that you know the reviewer they simply will not post the review. While this is technically not against Amazon’s policies as long as the reviewer mentions that they received an item at no charge exclusively for review purposes, this is still a grey area as Amazon is searching for honest reviews which look at the products objectively and if they suspect that you are in cahoots with a reviewer giving all of your items five-star reviews they might remove the reviews at best or suspend your account at worst.

While there’s no quick sure-fire way to accumulate positive product reviews, there are good ways and bad ways to go about it. To avoid repercussions of violating Amazon’s product review policies, it’s best to be patient and sacrifice a few items to top reviewers to help get the ball rolling. Lowering the price and investing in Amazon Product Ads are other strategies you can use to bolster sales and in turn get more product reviews. Just remember that taking shortcuts and paying people to leave positive product reviews just might come back to bite you in the long run as Amazon sees it as deceiving shoppers.

Patrick McDaniel